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.
‘Lagos Ports Are Not Congested’
The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) says the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa and the Tin-Can Island Port Complex are not congested.
The spokesperson of the association, Mr Bolaji Akinola, said this in a statement in Lagos, yesterday.
Akinola said that both ports were operating at less than 70 per cent capacity.
He said the major challenges facing the ports were the access road, which had become dilapidated.
“It is important to correct the understanding of the public about the ports.
“The hinterland infrastructure leading to the ports in Lagos, such as the roads, are at breaking points, while the ports are not congested and not at breaking points.
“Most of the terminals in the two ports are operating below capacity. The busiest terminals are operating at less than 70 per cent at the yard and 60 per cent at berth.
“So there is no port congestion anywhere as of today.”
Akinola said the ports in Lagos had capacity to handle beyond the volume of cargo they are handling at the moment if the dilapidated port access roads were repaired.
He urged government to put an end to the manual operation of cargo clearing processes deployed by the Nigeria Customs Service.
He said that port operation was not about the size of the port only, but about the efficiency of the connecting facilities around the port.
“I think the major problem we have at hand is that successive governments allowed the port access roads to degenerate so bad. The two main entry routes into the Lagos ports are the Ijora-Wharf Road and the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
“The Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, which is the major road to the ports with six lanes, has packed up several years ago.
“Every petroleum tanker, port truck and trucks belonging to many manufacturing concerns in Apapa now use the narrow Ijora-Wharf Road, which is not even in a perfect state also.
“This results in the inevitable chaos we see on the roads. If these roads are repaired as they should be, the chaos will disappear,” Akinola said. He said ports in other parts of the country were not immune to the challenges of bad road. He called on the Federal Government to embark on “urgent comprehensive repairs” of the roads leading to the ports in the country, especially the Lagos ports.
FMDQ Explains Name Change
FMDQ Securities Exchange Plc, which recently became a full blown securities exchange, has explained that it is not out to compete with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in equities trading but to create new entities for the future.
FMDQ Managing Director, Mr Bola Onadele, said last Saturday at a media parley in Lagos that the new securities exchange would work with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and private companies to create new entities for the future.
Onadele said the company’s intention was not going into the equities market to compete with the exchange or ask companies to delist.
The Tide reports that the exchange recently secured necessary approvals for a name change to ‘FMDQ Securities Exchange PLC”, thereby aligning its name to its upgraded status in the capital market.
Also in June 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered its wholly owned central securities depository subsidiary – FMDQ Depository Limited – positioned to provide collateral caching, custodian and settlement services.
Onadele noted that the exchange was looking at how to create new entities for the future, work with and nurture SMEs and private companies in Nigeria that had no access to long-term financing.
“We are not playing the game of attacking the NSE, that is not our role or our job or the way we do business.
“Rather we are looking at how to create new entities for the future, to work and nurture them, to work with SMEs, private companies in Nigeria who have not had access to long term financing.
“So, we are in the business of planning 20-30 years ahead and working with Nigerian entities in getting prosperity to Nigerians,” he said.
The managing director stressed the need to position the nation’s capital market to become number one in terms of standards, governance and transparency.
Onadele said FMDQ would continue to work with government and regulators to develop the Nigerian capital market.
He assured that the exchange would continue to trade in all securities including fixed income, derivatives, commodities and foreign exchange.
Also speaking, Associate Executive Director, Capital Markets, FMDQ, Ms Tumi Sekoni said the exchange would continue to educate and enlighten investors and operators on its products and services.
Sekoni said the exchange would launch the first derivatives product in the first quarter of 2020.
She said preparations were in top gear to ensure the launch of the product, noting that the exchange would continue to meet the yearnings and aspirations of its stakeholders.
Rivers Community Faults News Of Renaming Mile One Market
The Rumuwoji Community Council (RCC), the apex and decision making body of Rumuwoji Community of Abali, Rebisi in the Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State has faulted a purported publication by a local tabloid that the popular Rumuwoji Market also called Mile One Market may be renamed by the state government.
The Chairman of the community council, Hon Isaac Chibueze Wigodo, in a statement at the weekend, said the story was misleading and had no bearing, adding that the state government was not considering renaming the popular Rumuwoji Market.
A Port Harcourt based local tabloid, South South Voice, had reported recently that the state government was planning to rename the Rumuwoji Market at Mile One, Port Harcourt.
Wigodo urged the general public to disregard such insinuation by the local tabloid, adding that the news was concocted to mislead the public and create confusion amongst the people.
According to him, “although, I do not hold brief for the state government, it has not come to our notice and the government we know will not think that direction”, adding that the writer was only trying to cause confusion between the chiefs of Port Harcourt and Rumuwoji community.
He said the market has been named Rumuwoji Mile One Market even before the civil war, and alleged that the writer who is from a neighbouring community wanted the market to be renamed to reflect the name of his community.
“The story is misleading and falls short of the ethics of journalism profession. Nobody from the state government or chiefs as stated in the story spoke of the purported move to rename the market”, he insisted.
According to him, the aim of the originator of the news was to bring factions, confusion and mislead the public.
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