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Minimum Wage: Workers Angry, Threaten Strike

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The organised labour has threatened a nationwide strike, if the Federal Government fails to begin the process of reviewing the workers’ minimum wage, saying that Nigerian workers are hungry and legitimately angry.
The National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), an affiliate member of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), issued the threat in Kaduna, yesterday.
Addressing newsmen alongside NUTGTWN’s National President, Comrade John Adaji, General Secretary of the union and Vice President, Industrial Global Union, Comrade Issa Aremu, called on the Federal Government to urgently constitute a committee on the review of the current national minimum wage.
The labour union equally called on NLC and TUC to make urgent case for workers’ control of the country’s pension industry, saying pension fund was workers’ capital, and should not be a play-ground to reward failed politicians.
According to Aremu, “as demonstrated by workers during the May Day in Abuja, Nigeria risks national industrial crisis except governments at all levels give due attention to the critical issue of compensation of workers. Hungry workers are legitimately angry workers. Nigerian workers are not only hungry but legitimately angry.
“We commend both the Senate and the House of Representatives for their respective facilitating roles to address the current issue of national minimum wage. However, the responsibility lies squarely with President Muhammadu Buhari, ably being represented by Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo as acting president.
“National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2011, which offers the current N18,000 was for a 5-year cycle due for review in 2015. The five-year time limit was to avoid minimum wage stagnation and attendant seemingly increases that follow. In UK, minimum wage is reviewed yearly. Today, it is £7.5 per hour, about N37,000 per day!
“Long before the current recession, Nigerian workers have long been in depression. With Naira devaluation and high inflation, 2010 negotiated national minimum wage of N18,000, which was about $120 in 2010, has fallen to below $50 in 2017, worsening income poverty. Nigeria cannot get out of recession with poorly paid work-force”, the labour leader said.
He, however, opined that, “The best way to reflate the economy is through wage increase linked with productivity improvement and prompt payment of the existing salaries by states and local governments.
“President Buhari should, therefore, urgently constitute the tripartite committee on the review of the current national minimum wage within a short time-limit”, he urged.
On the pension matter, the textile union leader said, NUTGTWN as an affiliate of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and a critical stakeholder in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) was concerned with recent developments in the pension industry, adding that, Nigeria’s pension industry risks avoidable crisis following the recent abrupt termination of the appointment of former director general of PenCom, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, and appointment of new Director General, Dikko Aliyu Abdulrahman, by President Muhammadu Buhari subject to confirmation by the Senate.
According to him, “labour observes that the termination of a tenured appointment flouts the provision of the Pension Reform Act 2014. President Buhari is an acknowledged respecter of due process as witnessed by the way he has managed to transmit the delegation of powers to Acting President Osinbajo as required by 1999 Constitution. The health of pension assets is no less important than the health of the President”. The Presidency should, therefore, not casualise appointments of DG of critical pension institution like PENCOM.
“With this new development, both the NLC and TUC must make urgent case for workers’ control of the country’s pension industry. Indeed, pension fund is workers’ capital, and should not be a play-ground to reward failed politicians. What is at stake is the life of millions of working women and men after meritorious service to the nation”, Aremu added.

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2023: PDP Govs Task NASS On New Electoral Law

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The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum has tasked the National Assembly to immediately set up a conference committee to harmonize the two versions of the Electoral Act Amendment passed recently by the two chambers.
In a statement, yesterday, the Chairman of the forum and Sokoto State Governor, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, said any delay in the passing and assenting of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill will hamper preparations for the conduct of the 2023 polls.
The forum also charged the National Assembly to adopt the version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives, as it gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the latitude to adopt electronic transmission of election results.
“The PDP Governors’ Forum requests the Senate and House of Representatives (House) Conference Committee when set up, to adopt the House version of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill on the issue of electronic transmission.
“It should be noted that Section 52(2) of the House version says, ‘Voting at an election and transmission of result under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission,’ and Section 52 (2) of the Senate version provides, ‘The commission may consider electronic transmission of results provided that the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.
“The Senate version which subjects the decision of INEC to deploy electronic transmission to the decision of the Nigerian Communications Commission and National Assembly is manifestly a usurpation of the powers of INEC and offends relevant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution that guarantees INEC’s autonomy and independence,” the opposition governors.
According to them, INEC has demonstrated capacity to transmit votes electronically with the introduction and deployment of the Biomodel Voters Accreditation System (BVAs), used in the recent bye-election in Delta State.
The PDP governors further charged the National Assembly conference committee on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, to jettison the position of the House to compel all political parties to adopt one method of conducting primary elections.
“The forum is of the view that political parties should be allowed discretion to adopt either direct or indirect primaries in their Constitutions and in practice.
“The Senate version that retains the original provision in the Electoral Act should be adopted in the interest of the growth of our political parties and freedom of choice, the hallmark of a functional democracy.
“This intervention of the PDP governors is predicted on the need to ensure a free, fair and credible election, that strengthens Nigeria’s democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law. Only a credible election will guarantee accountability and good governance which Nigeria so desperately needs today,” the governors stated.

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Cholera: NCDC Records 46 New Deaths In One Week

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 46 new deaths linked to suspected cholera cases were recorded in the country in the past one week.
The NCDC said this via its officially verified website, yesterday morning, stating that the situation report was published based on data sent in by the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, for the respective reporting week.
It stated that eight states accounted for the new cholera fatalities.
The public health agency, in its epidemiological report for August 30 to September 5, said a total of 2,323 people had so far died as a result of suspected cholera infections in 25 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), since the beginning of 2021.
It stated that 1,677 cholera infections were recorded in 12 states within the period of one-week, bringing the total suspected cases to 69,925 as at September 5.
“In the reporting week, 12 states reported 1,677 suspected cases – Bauchi (566), Katsina (282), Sokoto (258), Yobe (183), Borno (179), Niger (94), Kaduna (66), Adamawa (34), Gombe (8), Kano (4), Kebbi (2), and Nasarawa (1),” the report said.
“There was a 58% decrease in the number of new suspected cases in week 35 (1,667) compared with week 34 (3,992).
“Of the cases reported, there were 46 deaths from Borno (13), Sokoto (12), Katsina (8), Bauchi (6), Niger (3), Kaduna (2), Adamawa (1) and Kano (1) states with a weekly case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.7%.
“Twenty-five states and the FCT have reported suspected cholera cases in 2021. These are Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara.
“As at September 5, 2021, a total of 69,925 suspected cases, including 2,323 deaths (CFR 3.3%) have been reported from 25 states and FCT in 2021.
“Two new states (Osun and Ekiti) reported cases, though with dates of onset in weeks prior to week 35,” it explained.
The NCDC added that the national multi-sectoral EOC activated at level 02 continued to coordinate the national response.
Cholera is a waterborne disease with a high risk of transmission where there are poor sanitation and disruption of clean water supply.
The wrong disposal of refuse and practices, such as open defecation, endanger the safety of water used for drinking and for personal use, thereby leading to the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera, and without proper WASH, Nigeria remained at risk of cholera cases and deaths.

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Buhari Seeks Senate’s Approval For $4bn, €710m External Loan

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President Muhammadu Buhari, has asked the Senate to approve a fresh loan of $4,054,476, 863.00, €710million, and a grant of $125million to finance critical projects in the 2021 budget.
Buhari’s request was contained in his letter read by Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, at plenary following the resumption of the upper chamber from its two-month annual vacation, yesterday.
According to the President, the request is an addendum to the proposed 2018–2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan earlier approved by the National Assembly.
He said that the projects listed in the addendum to the 2018–2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Credit Suisse Group, among others.
“In view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by FEC as at June, 2021 are incorporated, I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan,” Buhari said.
The letter titled, ‘Addendum to the request for Senate’s concurrent approval of multilateral fund projects under the 2018-2021 Federal Government external borrowing (rolling) plan’ reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached addendum to the proposed 2018-2021 Federal Government external borrowing (rolling) plan for the consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for same to become effective.
“The distinguishing Senate President may wish to recall that I earlier transmitted a request on the proposed 2018-2020 Federal Government External Borrowing Plan for the concurrent approval of the Senate in May, 2021.
“However, in view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by FEC as at June, 2021 are incorporated. I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan.
“The projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE), in the total sum of $4,054,476,863.00, plus €710million, and grant component of $125million.
“The Senate is kindly invited to note that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on positive, technical and economic evaluations and the contribution they would make to the socio-economic development of the country, including employment generation and poverty reduction as well as protection of the most vulnerable and very poor segments of the Nigerian society
“The Senate may also wish to note that all the listed projects in the addendum form part of the 2018-2021 External Borrowing Plan and covered both the Federal and States Government Projects and are geared towards the realization of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan that cut across key sectors such as infrastructure, health, agriculture and food security, energy, education and human capital development and Covid-19 response efforts.
“I hereby wish to request for the kind consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan to enable the projects become effective.”

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