Elena Smith
Fri, Sep 1, 2023 10:45 AM

Association of Tourist Boat Operators in Lagos Set to Empower Members amid Fuel Subsidy Removal

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Association of Tourist Boat Operators in Lagos Set to Empower Members amid Fuel Subsidy Removal
The Lagos State Chapter of the Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (ATBOWATON) has revealed plans to empower its members in response to the removal of fuel subsidies by the Nigerian government. The association aims to overhaul its operational strategies by implementing a "one zone, one project" agenda. The decisions were made during an emergency meeting called by the association's national leaders amid concerns over double taxation and the need for reconciliation among members. Chairman of ATBOWATON Lagos, Engr. Babatunde Lawal, expressed disappointment that the association had not benefitted from its efforts to promote water transportation. Lawal also addressed the proposed formation of another union of boat operators, stating that the members had rejected the idea.

The Lagos State Chapter of the Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (ATBOWATON) has set out plans to empower its members in response to the removal of fuel subsidies by the Nigerian government. The association aims to cushion the impact on its members by overhauling its operational strategies and introducing a "one zone, one project" agenda.

During an emergency meeting called by Mr. Frank Meke, the National Acting Board of Trustees Chairman, and Dr. Gani Tarzan Balogun, the National President, various decisions were reached. Members agreed to evaluate the operational impact of the subsidy removal, reach out to aggrieved members to facilitate reconciliation, and address cases of proven double taxation.

Engr. Babatunde Lawal, the Chairman of ATBOWATON Lagos, expressed frustration that despite the association's pioneering efforts and sacrifices made for the promotion and growth of water transportation in Lagos and Nigeria, its members had not reaped the benefits. The association has been instrumental in ensuring effective and secure movement of goods and persons across littoral communities in the state.

Lawal urged the members to remain united and resist any external forces attempting to divide the frontline water transportation body. He emphasized that the association's doors in Lagos are always open to anyone willing to operate within the regulations set by federal and state authorities, as well as the association's constitution.

Highlighting recent legal successes, Lawal mentioned obtaining a judgment against a maritime organization that sought to compel registered boat operators to pay levies, despite not owning or operating boats themselves. He expressed gratitude to the members who stood with the association throughout the court proceedings, even at the risk of their own safety.

Regarding the proposed establishment of another union of boat operators in Lagos, Lawal assured that the association would communicate its opposition to relevant bodies advocating for such an action.

In terms of palliatives for its members, the association claimed that practical delivery has been lacking so far. The new fuel regime has presented significant challenges for its members and clients, further exacerbating their business difficulties.

The association emphasized that any palliatives accompanied by unexplainable or confounding conditions would be outrightly rejected by its members. They expressed the firm position that any attempt to give with one hand and take away with the other would be refused.

In concluding their statement, the association reiterated its commitment to a united and collaborative water transportation ecosystem. They appreciated the Federal Government for establishing the Marine and Ocean Economy Ministry, which led to the unbundling of the Ministry of Transportation.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-01 News

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