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Strike Looms As ASUP Gives FG 21-Day Notice

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The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), yesterday, gave the Federal Government a 21-day ultimatum to meet its demands or face indefinite industrial action.
Rising from the 96th National Executive Council Meeting of the union held at the Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra State, the union said the notice became imperative following government refusal to respond to several correspondences on the issues in disagreement.
Reading out the resolution of the union, yesterday, ASUP President, Usman Y. Dutse, asked all organs and chapters to begin mobilisation form the engagement as the union pursue the onerous task of rescuing the sector from imminent collapse.
He gave the areas of concern asking, “Attempts are forceful enrolment of our members into the integrated personnel and payroll information system (IPPIS); non-implementation of the Federal Polytechnics Act 2019 Amendment and Continued victimisation of union officers.”
Other are, “Stalled renegotiation of ASUP/FGN 2010 agreement; renewed efforts at objectionable insertions in the review process of the scheme of service for polytechnics and violations in the implementation of the 2017 MoS signed with the government.”
The resolution reads in parts, “Our union has reviewed the above situation ASAP well ask the refusal of government to respond to several correspondences in the issues as captured above and has resolved to rise up to the occasion once again in defense of the sector.
“The union’s NEC is hereby issuing a 21-day ultimatum to the government to address the issues associated listed satisfactorily or risk the indefinite withdrawal of services by our members nationwide.”

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Senate Resumes Work On MTEF/FSP, Next Week

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The Senate Committee on Finance, yesterday, said it would begin legislative work on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) on Wednesday, August 19.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), disclosed in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, adding that invitations have been sent to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the government with presentations to make on the document.
Adeola, in the statement signed by his media aide, Kayode Odunaro, said the MDAs were to appear before the Senate Joint Committee on Finance, and National Planning.
He noted that there was need to examine the rationale for pegging the price of crude oil at $40 per barrel and a projected crude oil production of 1.86 million barrels per day (mbpd), in the MTEF/FSP document.
He  said, ”We are kick-starting the process on Wednesday with Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs) like NNPC, NCC, NPA, Customs Service, NIMASA, DPR and others, followed by the Ministry of Finance and its agencies, and subsequently, all revenue generating agencies”.
The lawmaker called on heads of MDAs to be prepared to defend their projections “as the Joint Committee intends to present the report to the Senate in plenary immediately on resumption from its ongoing vacation in tandem with the desire of the upper chamber to pass the 2021 budget in December.”
Adeola insisted that there was need for thorough scrutiny of the MTEF/FSP document in view of the fluid nature of the world economy following the disruptive impact of Covid-19 pandemic and the vagaries of the international market for crude oil and its attendant effects on the nation’s sources of revenue.
According to him, “There is a need for all stakeholders to come together to critically study the fundamentals of the ‘new normal’ forced on the global economy by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With the instability witnessed in the price of crude oil at the international market and the sluggish world economy with some nations falling into recession, there is a need to assess our situation critically and be realistic about our revenues sources for budgets going forward”.

 

By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Take Off Of National Senior Citizens’ Centre Underway, FG Assures

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The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has said plans are on the way to build a centre for the old people.
Farouq, according to a statement by her Special Assistant on Strategic Communication, Halima Oyelade, said this at a meeting with the Coalition of Societies for the Rights of the Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) in Abuja, yesterday.
“She assured members of the coalition that the ministry is working toward the successful take-off of the National Senior Citizen’s Centre,” the statement said.
It read further: “According to the Minister, a law establishing the centre is already in place. When operational this centre will among other things identify needs, opportunities, and training of senior citizens and provide recreational, sports, educational, health and social programmes and facilities designed for the full enjoyment and benefit of senior citizens.
“Responding, the President of the COSROPIN, Senator Eze Ajoku, thanked the Honourable Minister for the Covid-19 Palliatives, the group had received to cushion the effects of the pandemic.
“He then briefed the minister on activities of the coalition which include following up on the National Policy on Aging, pursuing non-contributory health insurance for older persons, enumeration of older citizens as well as the Older Persons Rights and Privilege Bill which according to him had passed second reading at the Senate.
“He asked for the minister’s support in the actualization of these initiatives.
“The Honourable Minister assured the coalition of the ministry’s support adding that older citizens are one of the key vulnerable groups that are of concern to the ministry.
“She further noted that most of them have been of service to the nation in their prime and still have a lot to offer due to their wealth of experience.
“The ministry will, therefore, ensure it gives due attention to issues concerning their well-being while ensuring it carries them along in the structuring and take-off of the National Senior Citizens Centre.”

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World Powers Deny Us Weapons To Fight Insurgency, FG Cries Out

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The Federal Government has appealed to the world powers not to be weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the appeal, yesterday, when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
“I want to use this opportunity to say that the international community can help us better than they are doing right now.
“To fight terrorists we need platforms and weapons.
“When the international community is weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country of vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity, you cannot turn round to accuse the country of not fighting terrorism,’ he said.
The minister buttresses the claim, saying “certain world powers have refused to even sell to us certain vital weapons.”
“For more than two to three years now, we have paid for certain vital weapons that they have not released to us and they even refused to give us spare parts.
“I think our appeal to them is that they should please help Nigeria to provide us with these sensitive platforms so that we can fight insecurity more effectively.”
The minister said for Nigerians to fairly assess the efforts of the Federal Government in the fight against insecurity, they should compare where the country was pre-2015 and today.

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