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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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RSG Begins Recovery Of Encroached Farm Lands

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No fewer than six farmlands owned by the state government have been recovered from encroachers as the Rivers State Government begins strategic moves to revive agriculture production in the State.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol who led officials of the Ministry during an inspection tour of government-owned farms said the administration of Chief Wike is bent on resuscitating agriculture to drive the economy.
The farms affected are the Rivers State Feed Mill Produce Farm at Bori, Rivers State Cassava Farm, Kpaa, Rivers State School- to- Land Authority Farm at Taabaa, all in Khana Local Government Area.
Others are State Cassava Farm at Ebubu, School to-Land Authority Farm at Agbeta, all in Eleme Local Government Area.
Dr. Kpakol warned land speculators and encroachers to vacate the farm lands immediately or face serious consequences.
He announced that in the coming weeks, government plans to resuscitate the farm lands in order to commence a statewide agriculture productivity policy as a way to create employment.
“Rivers State Government is set to take back all lands belonging to the State that will be put to use for agricultural purposes where lands are required. When development comes and jobs are created, the indigenes will benefit from such gestures” he said.
Dr. Kpakol further urged owners of illegal structures on the said farm lands to vacate, as he blamed natives in the land for vandalising and erecting structures without proper approval.

 

Kevin Nengia

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50 Directors, Others Affected In Massive Shake-Up At FIRS

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In a bid to realise the 2020 revenue target of N8.5 trillion, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has embarked on a massive re-organisation that has seen the transfer of over 100 staff, cutting across various cadres, especially directors.
The Tide learnt that about 50 directors, deputy directors and assistant directors of the agency have been redeployed in the major shake-up.
The Executive Chairman of the newly constituted board of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, has reportedly approved the redeployment of top directors in the agency.
The move did not totally come as a surprise, however, as Nami, shortly after his inaugural speech on January 16, hinted of his plans to restructure the Service as encapsulated in his 13-point agenda.
The shake-up, it was gathered, was to move staff to meet fresh challenges, bring their creativity to bear, break new grounds and eventually eliminate redundancy occasioned by monotonous work pattern.
While some of the directors were said to have moved up in relevance and ranking, one senior management staff got a tacit boot away from the agency. A new director also joined the service.
“I think it’s a normal process and procedure for a new boss to move staff around and put them where he feels they can function optimally once he studies the staff organogram.
“It is rare for a new boss to inherit and adopt the template his predecessor operated with, especially when he wants to up the ante and achieve higher targets,” a source said.
An Assistant Director confirmed that more transfers and movements will come as Mr Namu strengthens his hold on the FIRS.
“These transfers are normal. When Fowler also came, he moved people on a continuous basis until he was comfortable to do the job. And let me tell you, in the FIRS that I know, anyone who has spent four years in an office could be transferred. It’s in black and White. And staff know. The new chairman is eager for results. And as you can see, his focus is tax, tax, tax and anything that could assist him to realise the 2020 target,” the official said asking not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to journalists.
The FIRS spokesperson, Wahab Gbaddamosi, described the massive shake-up as “normal internal staff transfers in FIRS.”
He said it the usual movement of staff carried out by a new management.
“The FIRS Human Resource policy, which says that any staff that has done four years in a position can be moved around approves such movements.

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NBS Names Top Lenders In Capital Import

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Ecobank Nigeria and Standard Chartered Bank have joined Stanbic IBTC Bank to become foreign investors’ favourites for investment deals, says National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Details of the Bureau report showed that out of 26 banks foreign investors used to deploy foreign capital, the most investment came through Stanbic IBTC Bank, which attracted $1.63 billion worth of investment in the third quarter of last year, lower than $1.76 billion it had in the previous quarter.
Ecobank followed with $754.38 million worth of foreign investment, while Standard Chartered Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Standard Chartered Bank occupied the third position by attracting $502.47 million inflows.
Access Bank got $477.55 million; Rand Merchant Bank, $430.15 million; Citibank Nigeria Limited; $350.95 million; while First Bank of Nigeria had $307.94 million.
According to NBS, while the total value of capital importation into the economy fell by 7.78 percent to $5.36 billion in the third quarter of 2019 from the previous quarter, Ecobank attracted $754.38 million worth of foreign investment, representing 55.41 percent more capital thus making the bank foreign investors’ favourites for investment deals.
Country Treasurer, Ecobank Nigeria, Adetokunbo Uko, said the bank was leveraging its pan-African strategy to attract capital to the nation’s economy, stressing that the bank remains committed to increasing capital flows to Nigerian financial market.
“As a gateway to the African market for foreign direct and portfolio investments, Ecobank Nigeria is leveraging its Pan-African platform, people and products to contribute to the financial and economic development of Nigeria through provisions of foreign exchange solutions and fixed income products to local and foreign customers.
“We remain committed to our African strategy, to increase capital flows to Nigerian financial market through enhanced product offerings, good customer experience and transparency in all transactions,” he said.

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