As concerns mount on the sustainability of the insurance scheme planned for truck owners, drivers and their motor mates by the Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA), the Deputy President of the coalition, Mr. Stephen Okafor has arrayed the fears of the general public even as he has disclosed how they intend to sustain the scheme.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos on Monday, Okafor noted that the members of the council were not expecting government to give them money to sustain the insurance scheme adding that “we have also agreed within us to collect a check off dues from our members to sustain the insurance scheme and from there, we will be able to run this scheme.”
While expressing strong optimism in sustaining the insurance scheme, he stated that “this is part of the reasons we came into this coalition and because we have not stabilized, we have not been able to carry on with that objective. But now we feel that we are better placed, I think it is high time we do that because if we are not doing anything like that, the public will ask us what the essence of the coalition is. In anything we are doing, our members’ welfare is paramount.”
On how to get subscribers for the scheme, Okafor who is the former Coordinator of COMTUA stated, “I am a transporter, I know my drivers, I know my motor mates and I pay them. So, what COMTUA will be expecting from me is to send their data. If I have twenty trucks, that is to say I have twenty drivers and twenty motor mates; you cannot employ somebody without having his documentation.
“We have a committee that is set up known as establishment committee to handle the scheme of which I am the Chairman. In our last meeting, we have directed our members to forward details of their drivers and their motor mates to us so that we start the process. It is not an all comers’ affair, it is strictly for COMTUA members. There are transport companies that do not belong to anywhere, so, we are not concerned about them. We are only concerned about our members, the unions that are in collaboration. But if tomorrow, a union decides to leave, it leaves with its drivers, it reduces the burden too, it will not pay and its drivers’ benefits will not be paid to it.”
Speaking on ensuring that subscribers to the insurance scheme get the claims as and when due, he said, “Our BoT members are signatories to the account. It is not as if we are going to pay money into the insurance company’s account. Any money we are realizing in respect of this scheme will go into a pool account which two or three members of our BoT and the MD of the insurance company are signatories to. So, the insurance company cannot go there and withdraw money neither can we go there and withdraw money except there is an event.
“This is what NARTO and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) have been doing for over 25 year and it has been working, it has never failed. Free accident bonus is there, disability as a result of an accident is there, in terms of death, we compensate. It is a system we copied from NARTO and PTD into this coalition. So, it is not as if we are giving free hands to an insurance company to run and settle our people, no! It is we that will do it with them. They are just a consultant but the management of the scheme rest on both COMTUA and the insurance company.”
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