The organised labour in Rivers State has commended the Rivers State House of Assembly for backing power devolution in the country.
Speaking to The Tide, the chairperson, Nigeria Labour Congress Comrade Beatrice Itubo explained that the decision of the members of the assembly is a step in the right direction and good for the unity and stability of the country.
Itubo added that the lawmakers should call for contributions and input of the key stakeholders before passing into law several bills in the House.
She stressed that allowing critical stakeholders to make input would strengthen the tenets of democracy in the state and indeed Nigeria as majority of the people would better appreciate the bills through dissemination from the stakeholders.
She enjoined the Assembly to reexamine the issue of the local government autonomy proposed by both chambers of the National Assembly, stressing that the congress strongly believe that granting autonomy to the local government councils in Nigeria would strengthen and deepen democracy in the country.
The NLC boss added that the organised labour would continue to mobilize its members to support the assembly to perform its constitutional legislative duties in the state.
She further explained that labour in the state is prepared to partner the assembly in its determination to address the plight of the workers in the state.
She added that the organised labour would continue to commend the state government in its efforts to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
Ex-NLC Boss Tasks FG On Minimum Wage
A former President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Abdulwaheed Omar has urged the Federal Government to always implement the law on regular review of the national minimum wage to promote national growth.
Omar gave the advice in an interview with newsmen in Abuja last Monday.
He said that the call for government to tackle the issue about minimum wage review had become important because of the delay in the implementation of the law.
According to him, the national minimum wage law prohibits employers from hiring workers for less than a given hourly, daily or monthly take home pay.
“The law was established to address issues faced by workers, I think the cause for review of the national minimum is welcomed; it is just that it is almost belated.
“The issue of minimum wage is an aspect of our law; it is now part of our law in Nigeria, so I did not even expect that it will take much time.
“In the first place, the law provides that the minimum wage should be reviewed every five years; the five years elapsed since 2015.
“So, I had expected that that very year government should have set up a tripartite committee then.
“It is not something that government should wait until NLC threatens to embark on strike before it sets up committee, it is about the law that should be respected,” Omar said.
He said although government had promised to review the national minimum wage by the third quarter of the year, it should put measures in place to sustain such and ensure effective implementation.
He said the N18, 000 minimum wage was long overdue for review and urged government to act promptly to improve the economic well-being of workers.
PenCom Recovers N1.34bn Pension
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has recovered pension contributions and interest totalling N1.34billion from defaulting employers during the third quarter of 2017.
The Commission in its 2017 third quarter report posted on its website said it used 55 consultants as recovery agents to get back the outstanding pension contributions and penalties from the defaulting employers.
PenCom said the affected employers were issued with appropriate notice to remit the outstanding pension contributions.
“During the quarter, the sum of N1.34 billion was recovered, this brings the total recoveries made since inception of the Recovery Agents’ activities in 2012 to N13.58 billion,” it stated.
On Pension contributions within the period, it indicates that the total monthly pension contribution by contributors from the public and private sectors into their Retirement Saving Accounts (RSA) was N4.38 trillion.
This, it said showed an increase of N135.22 billion representing 3.18 per cent over the total contributions as at the end of the previous quarter.
According to the report, the aggregate total contribution shows that the public sector contributed 51.34 per cent, while the private sector contributed the remaining 48.64 per cent.
It, however, pointed out that during the quarter under review; the public sector contributed 40.87 per cent of the total contributions received while the private sector contributed 59.13 per cent.
It further revealed that the aggregate total pension contribution of the private sector increased from N2.05 trillion as at second quarter of 2017 to N2.13 trillion as at third quarter of 2017, representing a growth of 3.89 per cent.
Also, the aggregate total pension contribution by the public sector grew by 2.52 per cent from N2.20 trillion to N2.25 trillion over the same period.
The statement noted that the commission continued the ongoing refund of contributions made by military and other security service agencies personnel exempted from the contributory pension scheme.
It added that during the quarter under review, the department responsible for military pensions processed 254 applications for the refund.
PenCom said N39.83 million was refunded to the contributors while the sum of N127.13 million, representing contributions made by the Federal Government on their behalf was returned to the contributory pension account.
The statement also indicated that 27 state governments have enacted laws to implement the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) as at the third quarter of 2017, while eight states were currently in the process of implementing the CPS law.
The report revealed that Yobe was, however, yet to commence the process of enacting a law on the CPS.
NAPTIN Trains 300 TCN Engineers
National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) has commenced training of 300 engineers of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) under the international collaboration with the Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA).
The first batch of 106 began a two-week training in Lagos with the six geo-political zones of the TCN regional workers represented.
Mr Ahmed Nagode, the Acting Director General of NAPTIN, urged the trainees to make best use of the opportunity by ensuring that they achieved the objectives of the training.
Nagode said the training would make the participants better industry players and also guarantee their safety at work.
He commended the participants for their understanding and readiness to learn.
According to him, under the collaboration NAPTIN will train 545 staff of power utilities in Nigeria and Ghana with TCN constituting 300 and Distribution Companies, 203, while VRA/Gridco Ghana will have 42.
“We are privileged to be the only APUA centre of excellence in the whole of English speaking West Africa.
“This feat was achieved because NAPTIN met the requirements of APUA for admission into the African Network of Centre of Excellence in Electricity culminating in an MOU with APUA whose dividend we are witnessing today,’’ he said.
Nagode said the initiative would lead to enhancement of the capacity and competence of the manpower of the utilities and improvement in service delivery.
He said that the initiative would also serve as a means of generating foreign exchange for the country.
He said the training programme would be in batches in order not to unsettle the smooth and scheduled operations of the utilities.
“The first batch of 106 which we have started this week is of two trades, namely Transformer and Switch Gears Maintenance with 60 trainees and this is taking place here in Lagos,’’ Nagode said.
He added that “the Power System Protection training of 46 staff is holding simultaneously in our Kainji Regional Training Centre, New Bussa Niger.’’
Nagode acknowledged the Managing Director of TCN, Mr Usman Mohammed, for his invaluable support and belief in NAPTIN.
He said Mohammed had demonstrated uncommon professionalism and leadership in his role as the Chairman of West African Power Pool (WAPP).
“ This has enhanced the on-going WAPP initiative of developing a business model for NAPTIN Kainji as Regional Centre of Excellence,’’ he said.
Nagode said NAPTIN would train young Nigerians who wants to make a career in the power sector, during the year.
He listed some of the areas of training as Distribution Substation Operation, Cable Jointing, Lines Maintenance and Electrical Fitting as well as Solar PV Installation and Maintenance.
“We have just concluded a training collaboration with WINROCK, under the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Programme sponsored by USAID,’’ Nagode added.
In his remark, Mohammed, said the training would translate to best opportunities for staff in delivering effective services to the public.
Muhammed, represented by Mr Ifeanyi Ezeukwu, Executive Director, Human Resources of TCN, said ” for a long while now we have not trained this level of engineers of various offices.
“But with the support of APUA and NAPTIN we are now able to train them to impact the industry and network’’.
He added, “at the end of the day we will be able to deliver power for Nigerians and reduce the level of restiveness in rural areas.’’
One of the trainees, Mr Nasiru Aliyu from TCN Kaduna region commended the management of TCN and NAPTIN for the training, adding that it would impact positively on their operations.
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