The end to the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) seems not to be in sight as the meeting between the Nigerian government and the union has hit the rocks.
During the meeting, which held yesterday, the Federal Government promised to fulfill some of the conditions being demanded by ASUU in an attempt to end the strike by the union.
Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, who convened the meeting with the union leaders, said the government would meet certain conditions.
It was gathered that the ASUU leaders who attended the parley did not agree to call off the strike.
The ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi who led the executive members of the union to the meeting said he needed to brief other members of the union.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, yesterday said the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities may be called off within one week.
The minister stated this at a meeting with the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund in Abuja.
Adamu said that the ministry and other major stakeholders were already holding meetings with the union to resolve some of the issues that led to the strike.
He assured that with the level of progress made in the negotiation, there was hope that students and lecturers would return to classes within one week.
Adamu said, “the issue of renegotiation is already going on. I have already written a letter formalising the meeting I had with the union, because I went alone to face them and I wrote a letter which I gave them yesterday.
“From the way they received it, I think it is possible that the strike will be called off within a week, maximum.”
Adamu said while explaining reasons for the strike, ASUU accused the Federal Government of failing to keep its side of the agreement.
He assured that the Ministry of Finance had agreed to do the needful with regard to releasing funds as soon as possible.
He said: “The union had asked for N23 billion to be paid.
“We said the condition for that N23 billion to be released was for them to account for the N30 billion they had taken which is a total of N53 billion and they were not able to account for it.
“The Minister of Finance then undertook to do the audit from the ministry and we agreed that the result will be known within six months.
“The Federal Government undertook to be paying them N1.5 billion each month during the time they are waiting for the outcome of the audit.
“Their grouse now is that the forensic audit promised by the minister of finance has not been done and the money promised has not been paid.
“So, at our meeting two days ago, we agreed that we will pay them and do forensic audit on the entire N53 billion.
“I wrote to the minister and she has already approved it and this money will be paid; probably on Monday, they will be able to receive the cheque.”
Adamu, however, stated that his ministry did not agree on some issues during the meeting with the union.
He said: “There are other issues which we did not agree on and that is their request to be taken out of Treasury Single Account.
“I told them that it is not possible because this is a new policy and government is not going to change it for anyone.
“Concerning their salary shortfall, we said a lot of the reasons spring from what they are doing wrong.
“They do a lot of employment without proper authority.
“For instance, a university can decide to recruit 50 people and IPPIS is not aware. So, we insisted that institutions must stop doing that and they accepted.
“There is also the issue of the registration of their pension commission. I think they have one or two issues to iron out with PENCOM and I believe they will also be able to solve the problem within a week.’’
The Chairman of the senate committee, Senator Barau Jibrin, said the committee was impressed with the briefing by the minister on the matter.
He explained that the seriousness of the issue made the committee members to cut short their recess, and said that from the assurance given by the minister, students and lecturers would return to school shortly.
RSG Approves N30,000 Minimum Wage For Workers …Wike, ‘Doyen Of Infrastructure Dev In Nigeria’, NMA Affirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has approved the immediate implementation of N30,000 new minimum wage and the consequential adjustments as approved by the Federal Government.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, reads, “His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has graciously approved the payment of the minimum wage of N30,000 monthly salary for employees of the Rivers State Public Service with the consequential salary adjustments as approved by the Federal Government”.
The Tide learnt that the approval follows the outcome of series of negotiations by committees from both state Public Service Joint Negotiating Council (PSJNC) and the Rivers State Government.
It was gathered that with the approval of the new minimum wage by the state governor, a fresh salary table may soon be released by the Office of the Head of Service to facilitate implementation of the policy.
The negotiations were triggered by the release of the circular on the new national minimum wage by the Federal Government in November, last year, following the conclusion of negotiations between the Federal Government and organized labour.
It would be recalled that in the salary table released along with the circular, the least paid federal worker on Level 1 Step 1 will earn N360,000 per annum (representing N30,000 monthly) while the highest-paid at Level 17 Step 9 will take home N6,215,435 per annum (representing N517,952.91).
The circular on the new wage, dated November 14 and signed by the Acting Chairman of the National Income, Salaries and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta, said, “Consequent upon the enactment of the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2019 and the negotiations between the Federal Government and organised labour (represented by the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council) in respect of the consequential adjustments of salaries of employees in the federal public service, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has approved the revision of the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS) with effect from the 18th of April, 2019.”
In the breakdown, a worker on Level 1, Step 1 will earn N360, 000 per annum, while Level 1, Step 15 will earn N422, 566 per annum.
The circular further indicated that GL 2 Step 1 will earn N363, 328 and Step 15, N445, 130 (about N37,094.16 monthly); while GL 3 Step 1 will earn N366, 170 (about N30,514.16 per month) with Step 15 on same GL earning N466,718 per annum (about N38,893.16 per month).
Also, workers on GL 4 Step 1 will earn N376,194 (representing N31,349.5 per month) while Step 15 of same level will go home with N497,000 annually (representing N41,416.66 per month).
However, workers on Grade Level 5, Step 1 officer will earn N394, 498 per annum (about N32,874.83 monthly) and on Step 15 earn N534, 834 per annum (representing N44,569.5 monthly), GL 6 Step 1 N449,429 (about N37, 452.41 monthly) and Step 15, N620,495 (about N51,707.91 monthly); just as Level 7, Step 1 officer will earn N638, 133 per annum (representing N53,177.75 monthly) and Step 15 will earn N961, 577 per annum (about N80,131.41 monthly).
In same token, GL 8 Step 1 will take home N799,421 (about N66,618.41 per month) while Step 15 will earn N1, 140, 395 per annum (about N95,032.91 monthly); with GL 9 Step 1 earning N928, 981 (about N77,415.08 monthly) while Step 15 will earn N1,371,711 annually (about N114,309.25 monthly).
Similarly, Level 10 step 1 will earn N1, 060,833 per annum (about N88,402.75 monthly), while Step 15 of the same level will earn N1, 535,417 per annum (representing N127,951.41 monthly) while GL 12 Step 1 will earn N1, 2 21, 722 (about N101,810.16 monthly) with Step 11 earning N1,747,532 per annum (representing N145,627.66 per month).
With the new minimum wage, federal workers on GL 13 Step 1 will earn N1, 362, 110 (about N113, 509.16 per month) and Step 11 of the same GL will go home with N1, 918, 005 per year (about N159,833.75 per month); just as Grade Level 14 Step 1 will earn N1, 503,149 per annum (about N125,262.41 per month) and Step 11 of the same level will earn N2, 101,600 (about N175,133.33 per month).
In the same vein, Level 15 Step 1 to earn N2,027,623 per annum (about N168,968.58 monthly) while Step 9 of the same Level will earn N2,693,980 (about N224,498.33 monthly); just as a civil servant on Grade Level 16 Step 1 will take home N2,505,352 (about N208,779.33 monthly) while government worker on Step 9 of same GL will earn N3,306,197 per annum (about N275,516.41 monthly).
For federal workers on GL 17 Step 1, they will earn N4, 769, 304 (about N397, 442 monthly) and those at Step 9 will take the highest chunk of N6, 215, 435 per annum (about N517,952.91 monthly).
It was learnt that the new salary template does not include some special allowances, including those earned by special duty staff in ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government, including educational, finance and health institutions, which cumulatively increase the wages of affected workers.
The Tide also learnt that the organized labour had announced January 31, as fresh deadline for implementation of the new minimum wage by the various state governments, warning that any state governor that fails to comply with the Federal Government directive would face industrial action by workers. The initial deadline was December 31, 2019.
Also, the President of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Francis Faduyile has described Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike as the “Doyen of infrastructural development in the nation”.
Speaking during a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Faduyile, represented by the Vice President of NMA, Dr Ofem Enang, said that the governor’s outstanding infrastructural development stride was a model for other states to emulate.
Faduyile said: “Your Excellency’s numerous accomplishments in massive infrastructural development across the state, particularly in the health sector, is a model for other states, and this is evidenced in the numerous awards and accolades the governor has received.
“In addition, your passion for sports which has led to the establishment of the Real Madrid Academy in Rivers State is another landmark project aimed at promoting sports and developing our youths. Little wonder, you have been aptly called Mr. Projects. Permit me to add, ‘the Doyen of Infrastructural Development in the nation’”.
The NMA lauded the governor for sustaining the development of the health sector as exemplified by his numerous projects.
“Your recent effort at the state-owned Medical School and the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital Radiology Department, which is world class has shown your passion for the provision of quality health care in the state.
“Your recent move in fast-tracking the health protection bill, in your bid to reduce the burden of out-of-pocket healthcare financing for Rivers people clearly shows your administration’s desire and commitment to put smiles on the faces of Rivers people”.
He appreciated the governor’s decision to include numerous members of the NMA in his administration.
While commending the Rivers State governor for his cordial relationship with the NMA, the Faduyile informed him of the forthcoming Nigerian Doctors’ Games.
He said: “Doctors in Nigeria have decided to meet once every two years to interact, relax and exercise on a sporting platform. This event is aimed at building healthy doctors as well as fostering unity amongst doctors across ethnic, political and religious divided.
“Rivers State is hosting this year’s games, the choice of Port Harcourt for the 2020 event is driven by the traditional hospitality of Rivers people, Your Excellency’s love for sports and the developmental advances under Your Excellency which have made Rivers State a secure destination of choice for many national and international events”.
He added: “It is on this premise that the Nigerian Medical Association wishes to induct you as the Grand Ambassador of the Doctors Games 2020, being a global icon for sports in Africa, particularly, the Power of Sports (Africa).”
Responding, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike assured that his administration would continue to work with all professional organisations to develop the state.
He said that the state government would ensure that all arrangements are in place to ensure that the doctors enjoy hitch-free games.
The governor directed the NMA leadership to liaise with the deputy governor to ensure a successful outing during the games.
The tournament will hold between February 18 and 23, 2020.
NDDC: IMC Discovers N1trn Fraudulent Contracts In Seven Months
More revelations have emerged from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as the Interim Management Committee (IMC) set up to audit NDDC finances, yesterday, released its latest findings.
The IMC said its findings showed that immediate-past NDDC management awarded 1,921 ‘emergency contracts’ at N1.070trillion in just seven months, against an annual budget of about N400billion.
The NDDC’s Acting Executive Director, Projects, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, disclosed this at a meeting in Port Harcourt, a statement signed by the commission’s Deputy Director, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi stated.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2019 ordered a forensic audit of NDDC, and appointed an IMC, which Ojougboh is a member.
According to Ojougboh, in just seven months of 2019, the commission awarded a total of 1,921 emergency contracts valued at N1.070trillion.
“In 2017, NDDC awarded a total of 201 emergency contracts valued at N100.4billion while in 2018, a total of 1,057 emergency contracts valued at N162.69billion were awarded.
“We are talking about a total of over N1.3trillion in less than three years. The yearly budget of NDDC is hardly above N400billion.
“A situation where contracts that do not qualify for emergencies were fraudulently awarded to over N1trillion in less than one year, this amounts to not only stealing from the pulpit but stealing the entire pulpit,” he said.
Ojougboh, who is the IMC’s chairman, Contract Verification Committee, said the findings have confirmed allegations of high-level corruption in NDDC.
The executive director said that President Buhari was fully committed to saving NDDC from being shut down by activities of corrupt contractors and officials at the commission.
According to him, the commission is sinking and would have been killed and buried due to over trading, bloated contracts and other sharp practices but for Buhari’s intervention.
“At best, NDDC has been a lack-lustre performance, with very little to show for the humongous resources that have accrued to it over the past 19 years.
“Stories of pervasive corruption, flagrant abuse of due process, abandoned projects, poor quality project delivery, among others, at NDDC, have adorned our media space over the years.
“To this end, the contract verification committee will lay a foundation for the forensic audit of the activities of the commission from inception to date,” he assured.
Ojougboh directed all NDDC contractors, consultants, vendors, suppliers and non-governmental organisations or their representatives who have business with the commission to report to the verification committee.
He said that the groups “are expected to come with three photocopies each of their letters of award, contract agreement, and interim payment certificates, where applicable”.
According to him, they are also to present originals for assessment, evaluation and verification to the NDDC office where such business is located.
“They are also to present letters detailing a brief statement of their claims/request on their headed papers with verifiable addresses and certified true copies of their company registration documents.
“The contract verification exercise would among other things establish the true position of the emergency contract regime between 2016 and 2019 in NDDC.
“Some of the contract awards were not only spurious but criminal, as available records showed that most of the awards were not backed by budget, bills of engineering measurement and drawings.
“They were just open cheques for contractors and their collaborators to fill in at the nearest banks,” he alleged.
Tasks For Rivers State Government
With the recent swearing in of Commissioners, advisers and personal aides and assistants, it is the expectation of Rivers people and those earning their living in Rivers State that the strains on the state governor would be much reduced. There is an old management axiom that a leader is at his best when people rarely know that he exists. This translates into the truth that effective delegation of activities to the ablest available hands is the hallmark of leadership.
What is known as “80:20 Rule” in management is based on the fact that routine or trivial operations can be handled by subordinate staff, while most important issues which are usually about 20%, should demand personal attention from the big boss. That method in management with regard to the art of delegation, is also known as ABC method, Pareto’s Law or Management by expectation (MBE). The boss should have time and privacy enough to draw inspiration from higher realms of consciousness. This is why self-effacement is recommended for serious-minded managers of human affairs. You see or hear them rarely, even in newspapers.
It was an emotionally- moving experience to find Nigerians of very humble backgrounds sweeping the streets of Nigerian urban towns, between 5-6.30am, Most touching was the sight of a woman, with a baby tied to her back, sweeping a major road in Rivers State.
It was hard to resist the urge to interview her, with the aim to hear the story of her life. Why sweep the street at 5.40am with a baby of less than 2 years old? What we are used to in Nigeria is a situation where those who lead in all spheres of life create maximum zones of comfort for themselves, but rarely know the plight of the voiceless sections of the people. An elitist political leadership is the kind that would pontificate and ask public servants to give maximum service, even without caring to know what long distance the obedient servant travels to get to work. Talk about social welfare system in Nigeria and what would be put in place would be a corruption-ridden sinecure and patronage system to woo and catch political support.
As commissioners visit various ministries, departments and agencies on familiarisation tour the message which they carry along is usually the plea for hard and dedicated services. Some can even issue threats such as: “Anybody not ready to work can resign, because there are many looking for the opportunity to find a job.” Hardly is there the empathy that can create a rapport between servants and masters, in the course of visiting and relating with the people who keep the economy going.
Therefore, one vital task for the Rivers State Government this new year should be to create a rapport with civil servants which would promote empathy and understanding. In the first place, the state of the economy is so harsh that some thought should be given to the plight of the wretched of the earth.
Using the example of a street sweeper who had to do her job at 5.40am, with a baby tied to her back, it is possible she can be given a query or sacked if she does not do her work. But who gets concerned if the child she takes to work gets ill and demands medical attention? Did anybody give her and her baby any hampers or chicken last Christmas? Rather than shout at her for some little infraction, does anyone show concern about how she lives with her family, perhaps in a batcher?
Political administration is not all about contracts and project execution, but more relevant in the area of human capital concern. It is a valid motivation theory that people that put in their best if they are in a state of happiness. A major factor which creates happiness in people is concern, not threats, pontification or promises. People notice quite easily when someone shows genuine concern about them and their affairs; and they appreciate that better than bureaucratic cosmetics. Appreciate little things!
In Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, a leader, Duke Vincentio, disguised as a Friar or priest and pretending to have travelled, was able to know the degree of hypocrisy of his officials and true state of his domain. In politics, good intentions, policies and programmes of a leader can be distorted, ruined or misrepresented by officials working for him. It is not a wrong practice to put subordinate staff to tests, occasionally. Some rarely stand!
Ugly names which some leaders are called often come from the activities of those working with and for them. Duke Vincentio’s strategy enabled him to know that people can be pretentious and hypocritical, including those who appear sanctimonious and strict.
Among those who damage the names and intentions of leaders are contractors who are usually political wheeler-dealers. Such contractors may not be involved in project execution, but being high patrons and party giants, they constitute what we know as the cabal in Nigerian politics.
A task for Rivers State Government should include ensuring that government is about people and people-oriented, rather than serving put the well-being of the people as vital concern. When an administration invests in power rather than people, what dominates activities and policies would be ego.
Nigerians are intelligent enough to know when a government is a caring one, because this translates into a state of happiness which promotes patriotism. When the people are happy, government would have less problem of security and there would be no need to spend money to buy the goodwill of the masses.
Obviously, managing people and public affairs are very vital and serious responsibility for which the prayers of the masses can achieve great results.
Featured3 days ago
Judgement On Imo Guber Tussle: S’Court’s Sack Of Ihedioha, Sad Commentary, PDP Declares …Mixed Feelings Greet Verdict Declaring Uzodinma Winner …As Apex Court Decides Tambuwal’s Fate, Monday
Business4 days ago
Customs Shortlists 162,399 Candidates For Aptitude Test
Sports4 days ago
Enyimba FC’s Chairman Threatens To Quit
Politics4 days ago
Imo: INEC Releases Schedule For Supplementary Elections
Politics4 days ago
Abia Guber: Otti Accepts S’Court Verdict Poll …Insists Ikpeazu, PDP Rigged
Sports3 days ago
Madrid President Praises Zidane
Sports3 days ago
Dangote Promises To Buy Arsenal
Sports3 days ago
‘Why Nigerian Clubs Are Struggling In Africa’