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Auto Industry Can Create Over 200,000 Jobs …As 500 AICON Staff Protest Sack

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The Director-General of the National Automotive Council (NAC), Mr Aminu Jalal, said yesterday that the nation’s automobile industry had the potential to generate over 200,000 jobs.
Jalal said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.
“The auto industry is very huge and a car has over 2,000 components and each of these components is an industry,’’ he said.
He said the areas of job opportunities included mechanics, insurance, financing and logistics, noting that   the new automotive policy of the Federal Government was investor-friendly.
Jalal said that already, 23 car assembly plants had shown interest to invest in the country, and listed the companies to include Piaggio Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Company and National Trucks Manufacturers in Kano State.
Jalal said that to ensure that the auto industry was developed; the Federal Government had given incentives to the tyre manufacturers to encourage them to invest in the economy, noting that tyre manufacturers like Michelin and Dunlop had shown interest to return to the country.
He listed the incentives to include free-duty on their equipment and incentive to import 20 per cent of tyres components into the country.
Jalal said that Nigeria was currently spending more than N1trillion on the importation of vehicles and their spare parts.
He said substantial part of this figure would be saved if the nation’s automotive industry was fully functional, noting however that the industry still faced the problem of skepticism on the art of potential investors who were doubtful of government’s commitment to the full implementation of the new automotive policy.
Jalal said the Federal Government remained fully committed to the implementation of the policy.
He said that this year, NAC would commit itself to local content development and assist local entrepreneurs in accessing financial assistance to boost their operations.
However, about 500 workers of ALCON Nigeria Limited, a sub contracting firm handling NLNG project site in Bonny local Government Area of Rivers State have petitioned to the Federal government over what they described as unlawful termination of their appointment by the company.
In a thirty page petition addressed to the Zonal Coordinator, South-South, Federal Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity, Federal Secretariat Complex, Port Harcourt with the heading “unlawful termination of employment of five hundred workers from AlCON Nigeria Limited Nigeria liquefied Natural gas (NLNG) project site Bonny on request to be unionized”.
The petition which was signed by Allison Awoiyala S. (Electical unit) Kelvin B. Abbey (Iron Bender), Sombonibo Biobioley (Labour), Hamnton P. Allison (Manson), Blessing Blue-Jack (Iron Bender) Kalada (Carpenter), Tamuorokoro Jonah (Scafolder), Inye hart (Painter), Sampson J. Allison (Iron Bender) and Tamunokro Brown (Iron bender) for the affected workers.
The workers averred that before they were engaged into the employment of the company, they met all the requirements for recruitment as stipulated out by the company and wonder why they would be sacked without any justification.
The workers alleged that the only reasons they were sacked by the management was due to their quiet to get unionized adding that some of the workers were invited by the Divisional Police Officer in Finima with a false allegation of ‘hostage taken, site destruction and attempted kidnap” only to be dragged to the Bonny Integrated Recruitment Centre (BIRC) where they were forced to sign and collect their termination letters. the meeting site.
The affected workers among other things demanded that the Bonny Integrated Recruitment Centre by extension the Bonny Chiefs Council stop interfering in Alcon Nigeria Limited over workers matters, withdrawing of termination letter and recalling back all the affected staff, appointment of a union executives, as well as negoitaton of condition of service through effective bargaining.
When contacted on phone, Alcon project services Manager, Ukie Ezeali never responded to the text message put across via the GSM 08033104401.

Lydia William

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More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining

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As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’ 
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth. 
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.

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Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project   -Akawor

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The  PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them. 
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.

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PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations

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Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations. 
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.

Stories by Corlins Walter

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