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On That NLC’s Botched Strike

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Rivers State NLC members at a rally during the strike action in Port Harcourt                      Photo: Ibioye Diama

Rivers State NLC members at a rally during the strike action in Port Harcourt Photo: Ibioye Diama

Nigerian trade unions
seem to be organs of the state as their structures, policies and activities are fixed for them by the government. It is the primary function of trade unions to protect and improve the wages and working conditions of their members and as well the welfare of the citizenry, through collective action, whether by bargaining with the employers or government.
In fact, historically, one of the main reasons for the setting up of trade unions is for the workers to acquire a combined strength which would enable them to bargain more effectively with the employers or government. But when a trade union cannot unite and speak in one voice, it is undoubtedly bound to fail in its collective action.
The nationwide strike action called by a faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) clearly exemplifies this.
The Ayuba Wabba faction of the NLC had called the strike to protest fuel price hike from N86.50 to N145 per litre and subsidy removal by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joe Ajaero-led faction of the NLC pulled out of the planned strike following meetings with the representatives of the Federal Government, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr Babachir David Lawal.
While Ajaero and his group opted for a committee to resolve the petrol price increase impasse, the TUC was not convinced and opted not to go for the strike. In most parts of the country, the strike flopped while in some, it witnessed partial compliance. In Delta State, the strike was brought to bear as government offices were under lock and keys. The NLC in that state said the strike was not directed against the state but against the Federal Government. The protesters, comprising all union leaders and members in the state, including NULGE, ASUU, NASU, ASUP trooped out as early as 7.00am on Thursday, rejecting both petrol price hike and new electricity tariff.
In defiance of the ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC), the Comrade Ayuba Wabba-led faction of the NLC made good its promise by mobilising its members to a protest rally at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, demanding for the reversal of pump price of petrol from N145 per litre to N86.50. However, the strike was not effective in the nation’s capital as workers were seen at the Federal Secretariat Complex going about their normal businesses.
Also, banks, filling stations and other private offices across the city also opened for operations while there were no reports that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was shut down as promised by NLC.
In Enugu, Benue and Ebonyi States, there was partial compliance as almost all the state and federal offices in Enugu State opened for normal duties, thereby rendering compliance to the strike ineffectual. Public and private establishments in Jos, Plateau State, including banks, schools and media outfits were shut down due to the strike.
Although there was still some level of resistance in some establishments, the leadership of labour said it would stop at nothing towards ensuring full compliance.
Secretary of the NLC in Plateau State, Comrade Fancis Izam, told newsmen that the union was still united in the struggle despite the refusal by TUC and PENGASSON, among others to join. In Imo State, activities in University campuses, public schools and government offices were grounded to a halt, though the strike did not start with a bang. But as the day progressed, compliance increased and spread. It was not a total shut down as banks were still working and commercial vehicles were operating but the State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Austin Chilakpu warned that compliance would increase by the day.
In Rivers State, the strike did not succeed as most civil servants went about their normal duties. The workers resumed duty early morning Thursday in defiance of the action after the state government, a faction of the NLC and TUC instructed them to shun the strike. While some workers wanted to join labour and openly protest the new fuel price, they could not go about it based on the pressure from the state government, the NLC and the TUC.
The state government through the Head of Service, Barrister Rufus Godwins, invoked a ‘no work, no pay’ rule against any civil servant who joined in the strike. Godwins, after a meeting with Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments and Agencies in his office Thursday said the strike which was only called by a faction of the NLC, had nothing to do with the state government. He said that the state government had no issue with civil servants, stressing that joining the strike was not in the good interest of civil servants as the situation could frustrate the on-going biometric exercise for civil servants in the state. The Head of Service said the State Secretariat was open and miscreants would not be allowed to hijack the process of the strike to molest any civil servant carrying out his or her lawful duty.
A faction of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU), Rivers State said no civil servant in the state would join in the strike. The Beatrice Itubo faction of the NLC had insisted that the strike must go on in Rivers State and instructed its supporters to monitor the strike in their various establishments to ensure compliance. Factional leader of the NLC in the state, Prince Ada William had restated that civil servants were not part of the strike, saying that normal business activities were going on both in the public and private sectors. “No office has been shut down in the state as erroneously claimed by the other faction”, he said, Civil servants turned out in their large numbers for work on Wednesday and Thursday until the strike was called off on Monday, May 23, 2016.
A cross-section of civil servants, who spoke in an interview described the strike as a flop and called on the NLC to put its house in order.
They noted that the congress could not be speaking from both sides of its mouth and expected people to comply with its confusing directives. Also speaking in an interview, the South-West Chairman of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria (NUPENG) Alhaji Tukunbo Korodo urged Nigerians to disregard the strike called by NLC and go about their normal businesses.
Korodo said that the strike was not in the best interest of the country, pointing out that what any union that stood for workers or the masses should be doing now was find ways of reaching agreements with government to make life better for workers and Nigerians. “Nigerians should disregard NLC strike and continue with their businesses because it is a failure. What the unions should do now is to meet with government and reach a compromise with them on how to increase workers’ take home pay”.
At the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, the Nigeria Police stopped members of the protesting NLC from gaining entrance into the airport. The protesters, however, caused massive gridlock at the airport road as they stationed their banners at the roundabout close to Arik Air headquarters, singing several solidarity songs while travelling air passengers had to treck to catch their scheduled flights. Earlier in the morning, an affiliate of NLC, the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), had put all the agencies within the airport under lock and keys in preparation for the strike.
The strike had partial success in Kwara, Ogun and Oyo States while it was fully complied with in Ondo, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. In Adamawa State, workers defied the strike orders as the NLC leaders there insisted that there was no going back. Schools were open, public servants showed up for work at government offices, particularly Federal Secretariat, while normal businesses went on in banks, markets, schools, motor parks and filling stations. Many people who spoke on the near zero compliance, said there was no enough mobilisation and that people were not optimistic of good result from the strike action.
There was no strike in Kano and Bauchi states, while it witnessed poor turned out in Abia State. The House of Representatives broke the camel’s back when on Thursday, the first day of the strike, it formally endorsed the liberalisation of the petroleum sector and the hike in the price of fuel from N86.50 to N145 per litre, saying it was in the interest of the country. The Reps, therefore, urged the organised labour to continue to show understanding of the situation while dialoguing “in the interest of its teeming membership and Nigeria”. Similarly, the leadership of the Senate led by Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki that same day met with the NLC leadership, led by Comrade Ayuba Wabba where after he told newsmen that the window of dialogue was kept open towards quick and smooth resolution of the disagreement.
In Saraki’s words: “I am happy to report that the NLC has shown their commitment to continue to dialogue with the Federal Government and our role is to see that we can facilitate that. We shall continue with the dialogue and we will surely address the issue once and for all. I believe that we will all act in the interest of the people”.
Earlier, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba commended the Senate for their quick intervention and for inviting the labour union to get their own side of the issue. The NLC has, however, suspended the strike to continue negotiation with the government.

 

Shedie Okpara

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Banking/ Finance

Job Searching Tips for Recent College Graduates

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Breaking into any field isn’t easy, especially now when so many companies have taken a hit from COVID and are in the process of changing their operations. New graduates are likely going to face intense competition in a job market filled with recently unemployed people, many of whom have serious credentials and work experience that makes them viable candidates. Downsizing on a more practical front includes reducing the number of entry-level employees, which could make a college graduate with no experience feel like they’ll never get hired.

Although you do have a six-month grace period to start paying your student loans, it’s natural to worry what you’ll do if you don’t find a good paying job by then. In the event you are still unable to lock down a stable income, you may consider refinancing your student loans to save money. Refinancing can modify the interest rate and terms of your loan to make them more manageable, especially if you’re not earning enough to even be financially secure. Before you worry about loans, though, here are three things to keep in mind while you’re applying to jobs.

Focus on Skills, Not Job Descriptions

If you don’t have any relevant work experience, focus on what you know how to do, instead. The goal of a resume isn’t to show employers what you’ve done but rather what you can do for them. While prior experience is always great, you shouldn’t let it deter you from really selling yourself as a talented, eager candidate. In the event your experience was not in a related field, try to draw out any details from your responsibilities that carry over. Align your resume to each job’s specific needs, which will drastically improve your chances of getting a callback. Avoid turning in the same resume to different employers; even if you only change the wording on a few lines, it shows you care enough to read what an employer wants.

Don’t Say No to Internships

You may think interning is for undergrads, but it actually might be your ticket to a full-time position. Interning isn’t for everyone, and if the gig is unpaid, it certainly won’t work for a lot of people. But most internships function more like temporary jobs, which means you are paid hourly or given a fixed amount for working a set amount of time.For recent college graduates, internships can provide the experience, skills and connections they need to qualify for positions in the field of choice. You may also find a mentor in one of the company’s employees who can give you insider knowledge and teach you things that you’d never have found out on your own. Many jobs also promote interns into employees if they perform well enough. So, it may not be your first choice, but if you’re looking for work and considering a part-time job anyway, it’s worth considering.

Stay Connected to Your Fellow Alumni

Your university’s alumni community will allow you to network with other graduates who have found work in your desired field. They can offer you tips, provide some sound advice and possibly even recommend you for positions in their own company. Sometimes, job recruiters even check out alumni groups at universities to find candidates that are available for immediate start. Make that point clear whenever you mention you’re looking for a job.

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Business

The inflation rate in Nigeria on an all-time high

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Inflation is a rise in the price levels in relation to goods available leading to endless fall in an economy’s purchasing power over a period of time. It measures the proportion of the rate at which the normal price level of goods and services rise over time in an economy. Nigeria has been experiencing increased levels of inflation since the pandemic broke.

 

The world is currently fighting COVID-19 that has greatly affected many countries and the world at large, that has measures put in place to suppress the virus. Not only did these measures help curb the spread of the novel virus, but it has also reduced the performance of many economies, businesses and health systems of countries. Currently, more than 3,000,000 people got infected worldwide, with almost over 220,414 people dead. 44 people died in Nigeria from the virus with 255 recoveries. This has had a drastic effect on Nigeria’s economy, which saw its peak in March when the first case was recorded. In March, the CPI recorded a 0.84% rise in month-on-month inflation rate in Nigeria, which was a 0.5% increase from the previous month.

 

The inflation rate in Nigeria has continually been on an increase from month-on-month and year-on-year rates and several financial experts in Nigeria express their concerns about it and are calling for the currency’s stabilization. A majority of forex traders are particularly unaware about the state of the currency at a given period of time, especially beginners who rely on their brokers to update them on events plaguing the markets. The issues with FX broker comparison is that some brokers are more analytical than others when it comes to delivering information to their customers. While some brokers would prefer analyzing news before delivering it to a beginner trader, others just send out the news to their clients, without ensuring that the implications of the news are fully understood.

 

The average change in the percentage in both rural and urban areas in CPI of one year, ending in March 2020, over the CPI for the previous year till March 2019 was 11.62%. This shows a 0.08 increase rate of over 11.54% recorded in February 2020 for the same average.

 

In March 2020, the inflation rate in urban regions increased by 12.93% YoY; which was a 0.08 increase rate from 12.85% YoY change recorded in February 2020. With regards to the MoM rate, urban regions list increased by 0.88%, which is a 0.06 increase rate point from 0.82% recorded in earlier months.

 

This MoM development is generally caused by the prices of food to other consumer goods. Additionally, in March 2020, the inflation rate in the rural areas also increased by 0.03%, highlighting 11.64% from 11.61% in February 2020, which significantly contributed to the index prices of food. Simultaneously, there was a 0.80% increase in indices, at an additional 0.04 rate point from the 0.76% increase recorded earlier that month.

 

 

Statistics show that there was a rise in food prices that were brought about by an increase in costs of Potatoes, sweet potato, yams, fish, oils and fats, meat, fruits, bread and oats, and vegetables. There is currently volatility in the prices of all agricultural products, with the inflation rate steady at 9.98%, which is a 0.25% increase compared to the 9.73% recorded in March.

 

The highest inflation levels in Nigeria were recorded in bicycle prices, passenger transportation by sea and rates increased, medical services, medication, health services in general, and Major family equipment whether electronic or not. The most recent report suggests a quick rise in the prices of all products and services in the country, which was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and the continuation of the pandemic. It is worth noting that the most recent inflation rate implies that the buying capacity of customers has decreased.

 

On Tuesday morning, Nigeria’s Consumer Prices Index, also known as inflation massively increased in August 2020, by 13.22% as per information delivered by the National Bureau of Statistics. This indicates the twelfth continuous rise since September 2019 and the most noteworthy in 28 months reported by a business examination shows that information from the NBS August 2020 expansion.

 

 

 

 

 

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Business

Ugandan Appointed Managing Director In Nigeria

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Ringier One Africa Media has announced that Hilda Kabushenga Kragha, who was the Jobberman Nigeria CEO, as the new Managing director of ROAM Africa jobs.

 

ROAM connects Africans to opportunities. They empower people through transparency and are transforming markets with high technology. ROAM embraces diversity and it’s their key to success. Since the diverse backgrounds are driving them to innovations, they seek and hire people from all walks of life, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion. ROAM creates a business with real people.

 

Why do they stay at the highest level all the time? Because of teamwork and most importantly a passion for what they do. They believe that shaping future leaders ( as they accept MBA internship candidates ) with externship programs on an ongoing basis will lead to success.

 

ROAM Africa’s job brands are dominant recruitment solutions platforms in Africa, Including BrighterMonday in East Africa and Jobberman in West Africa (Focusing on Nigeria and Ghana). Hilda will take over from Kwaku Agbesi, who chose to fully focus on his role as CEO of Jobberman Ghana. In the future, he will give his full attention to the big potential of his home country.

 

Hilda joined Jobberman Nigeria as CEO in June 2019. Under her leadership, the brand has strengthened its position as Nigeria’s largest job platform with over 2 million job seekers and 68.000 employees.

 

Taking her new role in the company, she said that she was very excited to take her role within the ROAM family. Since the ROAM has been the leading industry in the market, with the power of technology, Hilda Kabushenga promises to increase workplaces and productivity by supporting employers to place them in the right places for them. With Africa’s growing youth population and employment opportunities, ROAM Africa is promising to bring transparency to Africa’s labor markets. This attitude is promising for Africans to work in a healthy environment, and it goes without saying that it will improve their livelihoods.

 

CEO of ROAM Africa, Clemens Weitz added that Hilda’s passion and concise vision will make her the ideal person for the role and a fantastic addition to the ExCo team. She really brings a wealth of experience whenever she goes. He also added that he is especially proud that the ExCo team is now chaired by female leaders, which is certainly an exception in Africa.

 

Hilda’s main focus will be to remain in Nigeria until the end of the year. She will start her job in January 2021.

Economy of Africa

The economy of Africa consists of the trading, industry, human resources, continent, and agriculture. As of 2019, 1.3 billion people were living in 54 countries of Africa. Africa is a very rich continent within resources.

 

Africa has been working hard lately to deepen intra-continent trade and integration. That’s why this country has the potential to grow and develop its impact on global reforms. Yet, for many African countries implementing trade facilitation reforms will require overcoming challenges such as supply constraints and slow economic growth. Uganda is slowly becoming a center of FX trading, because of the perfect space for investors to take a keen interest in trading deals.

Despite the global pandemic, more and more African traders are joining the forex market. The increase is also opening up new opportunities for investors in financial markets. African traders are exploring different options of trading since it is becoming the new era’s most popular field nowadays.

In that sense, many Africans are searching for a list of best forex brokers in Uganda 2020, since Uganda is already trading with countries like Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Congo, Dem, Rep, and Italy.

The path to economic diversification

The debate on the benefits of trading has dominated this decade. Africa has cast its vote for better trade with itself. In march of 2018 African countries signed a landmark trade agreement, the African Continental free trade area Agreement (AfCFTA), which commits countries to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods and progressively liberalize trades in services. This agreement created a single African market with over a billion consumers with a total GDP of over $3 trillion. Since Africa is one of the biggest trading areas in the world, people are more and more connected with their lives to trading and are trying to make their life qualities better with trading.

 

AfCFTA is focusing on trading in goods and services, investments, intellectual property rights, and competition policy.

 

Can Africa do better with trading? With proper and trustworthy people, absolutely. A total of African exports have been increasing by about 10% from 1995 to around 17% for now.

 

ECA considers that African countries trade with themselves creating more knowledge about transfers and creates more value.

 

Trade diversification of exports is vital and it allows the countries to build resilience to movements in demand, due to economic downturns in importing countries and their price dips.

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