Boat operators under the umbrella body of the Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (ATBOWATON) Lagos state chapter, have bemoaned the negative impact of petrol subsidy removal that resulted in an increase in pump prices on the businesses of its members.
ATBOWATON Lagos Chapter disclosed this during a recent emergency meeting and made known its determination to overhaul its operational strategies through a ‘one zone, one project’ agenda to empower its members hit by subsidy removal.
The association, at the meeting called at the instance of Frank Meke, acting national chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Gani Tarzan Balogun, national president, agreed to evaluate its operational impact, reach out to aggrieved members and enthrone reconciliation, and also tackle cases of proven double taxation of its members.
Babatunde Lawal, chairman of Lagos ATBOWATON, said the association pioneered and made huge sacrifices for the growth of water transportation in the state and Nigeria at large, but unfortunately has not benefited from its struggles for effective and secured movement of goods and persons across littoral communities in the state.
Lawal urged the members to be consistent and resist external forces bent on dividing the frontline water transportation body, adding that the doors of the association in Lagos are open to everyone who is willing to operate by the extant regulations put in place by Federal and State authorities as well as the constitution of ATBOWATON.
“We were once at the forefront of ensuring sanity on regulations ecosystem and went to court to prove our case. We recently obtained a judgment against a certain maritime organisation that does not own or operate boats yet wishes to compel registered boat operators to pay levies to them. We appreciate our members who stood with us at the risk of their lives through the court matter,” Lawal explained.
On palliatives for its members, the association disclosed that nothing practical in terms of delivery has reached the members, adding that the new fuel regime is making the business of its members and its clients very difficult.
The association further said that palliatives with unexplainable and confounding conditions will be rejected by the members, adding that any effort to give anything by the right hand and take it back through the left hand, will be turned down.
It also welcomed the creation of the Marine and Ocean Economy Ministry, which saw to unbundling of the once-octopus Ministry of Transportation.