The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has explained why it has not been able to pay the housing grants approved for its workers about two years ago by the agency’s Board of Directors.
It was gathered that some senior staff of NPA accused the Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko of refusing to release the housing grants approved for them since July 2021.
Documents made available to SHIPS & PORTS by some of the aggrieved staff showed that the NPA Board at its meeting of July 15, 2021 held at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, approved one-year total annual gross emolument as housing grant for employees that have served meritoriously for 30 years and above.
The Board resolution was formally conveyed to the NPA Managing Director by the then Board Secretary/Legal Adviser, I.G. Umar via a departmental memorandum with reference number HQ/SEC/B/OP/B.11/216 and dated 16th July 2021.
The Board also increased the workers’ end of year bonus from 5% to 7.5% of total annual gross salary including furniture allowance. This is in addition to approving assistance for the family of deceased employees. The burial assistance include transportation of the corpse and transportation of registered family members at the rate of N250,000 for distance below 300km and N500,000 for distance above 300km, among other benefits.
But in a statement sent to SHIPS & PORTS after the story was published yesterday, the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Josephine Moltok, said the housing grant has not been paid to the concerned workers because “a board resolution still has to be approved by the Salaries and Wages Commission and the Budget Office”.
“Secondly, there was no way for us to get relevant government agencies to approve both a salary increase and gratuity payment at the same time, considering that the salary increase alone amounts to an increase of over N11 billion per annum.
“While salary increase is meant for every staff, grant is meant for only staff that have served upwards of 30 years. There was therefore need for management to prioritise salary increase, which would benefit every staff,” she said.
Moltok further said that the intention of the agency was to secure approval for salary increase separately from grant.
“Salary increase was approved effective February 2023. That is because approval is yet to be secured from the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission. I hope this meets your need for clarification on the issue,” she said.