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Minimum Wage: FG Blames Labour For Delay In Implementation

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The Federal Government has attributed delay in the implementation of the “Consequential Adjustment” of the N30, 000 new minimum wage to the unrealistic demands of labour unions.
The Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Chief Richard Egbule made this known in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja, last Monday.
Egbule explained that the current demand of the labour unions would raise the total wage bill too high and that was why government could not accept their proposed salary adjustments.
“Labour is asking for consequential adjustment and government in its wisdom had made budgetary provision for an adjustment of N10, 000 across board for those already earning above N30, 000 per month.
“However, the Unions have refused this offer, saying that because the increase in minimum wage from 18,000 to N30, 000 which was 66 per cent, therefore they want 66 percent increment across board.
“We told them that the minimum wage was not raised from N18, 000 to N30, 000 through percentage increase but as a result of consideration of economic factors including ability to pay.
“However, we said that if they want consequential adjustments in percentage terms, we will use a percentage that when applied will not exceed what has been provided for in the budget.
“The computation based on percentage which government had given to labour, was 9.5 per cent from level 7 to 14 including level 1-6 of those salary structures that did not benefit from the minimum wage.
“And then five percent from level 15 to 17. Labour countered the offer and proposed 30 per cent increase for level 7 to 14 and 25 per cent for level 15 to 17.
“One point we keep repeating is, it will be unfair that because you gave the person earning minimum wage N12, 000, you give a level 17 officer almost N100, 000 if you apply 25 percent,’’ he said.
Egbule said that at the last meeting between the Federal Government and the labour unions, the government proposed a 10 per cent increment for level seven to 14 and a 5.5 per cent increase for level 15 to 17.
He advised labour to come to a compromise because government had so far been magnanimous in agreeing to increase salaries without any threat of downsising.
“Labour is currently stretching out and eating up the time that people could have used in benefiting from the adjustment because the new minimum wage was implemented since April.
“My advice is for labour to accept the terms for now and prepare to fight for the harmonisation of salaries that is coming up. Harmonisation of salaries will take care of this issue.
“The committee has already been formed and awaiting inauguration. I want them (labour) to know this and liberate us from this unnecessary log jam,” he said.
Egbule reiterated the commission’s commitment to giving sound advice to the government on the portion of national income that should be devoted to the payment of salaries and wages.

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Lawmakers Vow To Resolve Rivers Port, BUA Terminal Crisis

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Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbours, Hon. Datti Garaba Muhammad, says the committee will intervene in the lingering court case between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Rivers Port Complex and the BUA terminal operators.
The chairman said the committee’s intervention would save the situation and improve business activities in the complex.
Hon. Muhammad spoke to newsmen in Port Harcourt while on an oversight function to the NPA, Rivers Port Complex, last Tuesday.
Accompanied by other members, Muhammad said:“We are here to hear the challenges, we want them to furnish us with details of the agreement, we want to see the concession agreement between NPA and BUA terminal”.
He said the committee was ready to bring peace between both parties so as to improve on the revenue accrued to the government.
Muhammad disclosed that both parties had approached the Federal High Court and Court of Arbitration in London over the issue.
He said as a committee, it is their responsibility to oversee both the NPA and the terminal operators doing business in the port complex.
Speaking earlier, the Port Manager, Rivers Port Complex, Engr. Yunusa Ibrahim Anji, had told the committee that NPA had decommissioned berth 8, which collapsed some months ago.
Berth 8 is being operated by BUA terminal operators.
The manager appealed  to the committee to intervene in the lingering issue as it is affecting its revenue.
He said the collapse of the berth and the legal tussle between NPA and the operator were greatly affecting maritime activities in the port.
The manager said Rivers Port Complex is one  of the ports with the highest numbers of private jetties, explaining that the port has over 36 private jetties across the state.

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AfCFTA: MAN Urges Stakeholders To Address Vital Issues

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on stakeholders of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to address vital issues during negotiations to ensure that the overall goal is achieved by the continent.
MAN President, Mr Mansur Ahmed made the call yesterday at the opening ceremony of a two-day African Continental Free Trade Area National Forum, in Lagos.
The event is themed, “Effective Implementation for Industrialisation and Inclusive Economic Development in Nigeria.’
Ahmed said the key issues included technical and political challenges that must be resolved.
According to him, it is important that Nigeria benefits and ensures  she meets the targeted seven per cent economic growth rate expected to take about 100 million people out of poverty.
“President Buhari is committed to lifting 100 million people out of poverty in the next 10 years; how can we ensure that the AfCFTA leads us towards that journey?,” he said.
Ahmed said the critical dimensions that must be addressed during conversations concerning the AfCFTA should include policies and regulations, rules and conduct of the players.
“The way we merge the processes, the agreements, regulations, institutions and how these work together to ensure that the game is being played in accordance with the rules and expectations.
“The issues need to be defined in a way that we see the complexities; technical and political, to ensure clarity.
“All these must be formulated in a way that all stakeholders understand their roles and obligations and therefore play according to the rules,’’the MAN president said.
Ahmed said that all negotiators were not of the same capacity and inclination, which would require harmonisation on a regional level to resolve issues such as market offer and collaboration.
He urged stakeholders to view the negotiations with a sense of collaboration and not allow any player deemed as too powerful to dominate.
“We must look at the interest of the group as a whole and the interest of the region, and what provides the best long term and sustainable interest of the region.
“There must be a strong commitment by our governments, various institutions and private sector groups to look beyond the norms and look at the goal for the region and continent,’’he said.

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Oil Firm Commissions Projects In Host Communities

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An indigenous oil company operating Oil Mining Lease (OML) 18 in Rivers State, Eroton Exploration and Production Company Limited, has put smiles on the faces of its host communities with projects estimated at hundreds of millions of Naira.
Projects commissioned recently in Minama, Ifoko, Sangama, Ido and Abonnema towns, include ultra-modern town halls, civic centres and an integrated agro-farm industry that have mopped up hundreds of youths from the unemployment market in the area.
Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr. Felix Odungweru, who was the Special Guest of Honour commended the communities for the peaceful disposition and cooperation during the execution of the projects and assured that the Government of Chief Nyesom Wike would ensure that multi-national companies operating in the state develop their host communities.
Speaking to newsmen at Sangama in Asari Toru Local Government Area – shortly after commissioning the ultra-modern civic centre, the Cluster Development Board Chairman, Deacon Chrstian Sekibo, thanked the communities for nominating upright members of their communities to the membership of the board who had worked relentlessly to ensure the success of the various projects commissioned.
He promised to provide toilets for Minama Community in Asari-Toru LGA, in response to the people’s demand for toilets in the community.
Deacon Sekibo debunked the insinuation that youth restiveness prevents multi-national companies from developing their host communities, pointing out that the board received the best of cooperation from the communities youth.
“We received the best cooperation from youth of these communities. Their cooperation is an indication these youth in our communities were hungry for development. We could see it in their eyes, actions and attitudes,” he said.
Also speaking to newsmen at Ifoko Town in Asari-Toru LGA, after the commissioning of an ultra-modern town hall, consultant to the board, Dr Godwin MInimah of Godifems Consults Limited, said the interest of the host communities was paramount to Eroton E & P.
The second day of the programme witnessed the commissioning of the integrated agro-farm in Ido Community in Asari-Toru LGA with offices and staff quarters for essential staff.
In his welcome address, Deacon Sekibo said, “upon payment of the 2015/2016 project funds by the joint ventures partners- NNPC/Eroton E&P, the DAA3 board agreed to invest it in an income yielding project and accordingly settled for an agro business. Hence, the integrated agro farm project.
“The farm has poultry with an installed capacity for 15,000 birds; fishery with capacity for 20,000 catfish fingerlings; snailery with capacity for 8,000 snails and piggery with capacity for 144 piglets and pigs.”
Commissioning of the Ido Integrated Agro Farm and the Abonnema civic centre were withnessed by the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr Felix Odungweru, representatives of Eroton company, community chiefs and elders, among others.

 

By: Donatus Ebi

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