The National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), has thrown its weight behind the Federal Government’s decision not to obey court order in the payment of P & ID’s $9.6billion judgment debt.
This was even as it charged the government to go all out in ensuring that all Nigerians that collaborated with foreign contractors in the alleged shady deals were brought to book.
The union, in a communique it issued after its just concluded 31st Annual National Education Conference, held in Abuja, yesterday, also enjoined African countries to cooperate more with themselves rather than competing with themselves for conditional aids and support with other countries in Asia and Africa.
“Europe once scrambled for Africa which led to colonialism and underdevelopment, African leaders in 2019 should not be willing tools for new domination and global exploitation,” it charged.
The organisation, which noted that, “the P & ID contract scam underscores the need for Nigeria’s government to be conscious of foreign portfolio investment”, advised that “Government investment charity should start from home.”
While insisting that it “support for the Federal Government’s decision not to pay the money”, the union, in the communiqué, signed its President, John Adaji; and General Secretary, and Vice President, Industrial Global Union, Issa Aremu, “called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to the arrest and prosecute all Nigerians, who collaborated with the P &ID investment scammers.”
In the communique, the union said it “frowned at the idea of All Africa leaders engaging different countries of the world as unequal partners. Africa must indeed engage in globalized world”, adding: “But it’s unacceptable that a continent of 54 countries would be engaging with China, Russia, India, Turkey, Japan among others in unequal summits which often hold outside the Continent of Africa.”
While it “called on all industrial unions to invest in the training and retraining of their female members and young workers to improve their participation in union activities and national development,” the organisation charged “President Buhari to urgently lead the struggle to redeem the respect and dignity of Africa.”
It noted the “promise of independent Africa in 1957 when Ghana lowered the Union Jack is that Africans would relate with the world as equals not as junior partners begging for development. Africa Union vision of 2063 talks of prosperity for all Africans based on self reliance, partnership with the world as contained in 2030 UN sustainable Development Goals 17.
“Europe once scrambled for Africa which led to colonialism and underdevelopment, African leaders in 2019 should not be willing tools for new domination and global exploitation,” it said.
While recalling that “on Tuesday, July 23, President Muhammadu Buhari hosted the National Executive Council (NEC) members of the union at the Presidential Villa in Abuja during which the President unveiled a comprehensive Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) policy following extensive consultations with all stakeholders in the textile and garment value chain”, it commended the president for “changing the narrative of textile industry from that of closure to revival and recovery.”
While also acknowledging “that the new CTG policy in addition to the three unprecedented Presidential Executive orders mandating government agencies to patronize Nigeria goods (textile inclusive) through budget spending aims at creating millions of jobs”, the union commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its development financing initiatives on cotton seeds to farmers, restructured Bank of Industry (BOI) loans to the spinning and weaving mills and facilitating the historic signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the textile mills and uniformed services (Army, Navy, Police, Road safety, Civil Defence, Customs, Immigration, National Youth Service Corps etc) for their uniforms to be produced locally.”
Noting that the “President Buhari had envisioned 100million jobs in a decade. Textile and garment sector promises as many as 2.5million direct jobs,” it reaffirmed “that textile Industry remains the key driver of sustainable jobs and development for most national economies of developing nations like ours. Indeed, for Nigeria and Africa to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 2030, especially SDG 9 dealing with industry and innovation, African continent must innovate and industrialize.
“Africa must copy China’s industrialization drive which has within 20 years moved over 250 million people out of poverty through manufacturing and industrialization,” it charged.
It commended the Bank of Industry (BOI) under the leadership of Mr. Olukayode Pitan for sustainable financing to textile operators to aid recovery just as it hailed United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) for support for industrial revival.
It observed “that the implementation of the CTG policy is taking place at the time most African countries including Nigeria had signed on to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA)” and “commended President Buhari for the signing of the Agreement.”
The organisation called on the Federal Government to develop a comprehensive strategy to fully optimise the benefits of ACFTA with necessary safeguards in place to prevent and apprehend unfair trading practices such as smuggling and dumping.
Other resolutions as contained in the communiqué included its support for the current closure of Nigerian borders by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as part of the strategies to combat smuggling while calling on the Nigeria’s Customs to effectively enforce the directive; commended the directive by President Buhari for special fund by the CBN and Industrial Training Fund (ITF) for capacity building and training of workers in the cotton, textile and garment value chain against the background of the new CTG policy and signing of the ACFTA.
“The fund must be channelled through the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria,” it said.
While it observed “that for textile industry to be competitive,” it said “the existing workforce must be trained and retrained to acquire new skills for the challenges of competition within the context of the 4th industrial revolution.”
The union also commended the Federal Government, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and all the stakeholders for working together to ensure a new National Minimum Wage of N30,000.00 for Nigeria workers and the consequential adjustments as it affects public sector workers.”
It hailed the Kaduna State Government and other state governments that have implemented the new minimum wage, and called on other state governors and other employers of labour in both the public and private sectors to quickly implement the new minimum wage.
It observed “that economic recovery would elude Nigerian economy until the country put an end to persistent crisis of compensation of the working class through enhanced purchasing power which is only possible through prompt and adequate payment of minimum and living wage for the employed workforce.”
It also noted “that the key to sustainable development is labour productivity in both public and private sectors which is only possible with motivated paid workers at work and after work through adequate pensions.”
It further noted that increased wages and regular payments of the salaries would increase purchasing power of the citizens and enhance the patronage of locally produced goods including textiles.
While it commended the leadership of the textile union for commitment to welfare of workers, it said: “The union and textile employers had since signed and implemented new minimum wage of over N37,000 through the instrumentality of collective bargaining between the union and the textile employers association.”
It observed that as Nigeria’s industrial relations undergoes the challenges of avoidable disputes, strikes and lockouts, other unions and employers might find useful the model example of peaceful contestation and cooperation between workers and employers in the textile Industry on all aspects of industrial relations.
But the NUTGTWN called on workers to reciprocate the gesture by government and employers through improved productivity.
It alerted “on danger of drug abuse and called on parents and guardians to be more vigilant and monitor activities of their children and wards.”
It urged SMEDAN to continue its efforts in areas of capacity building, training and exposure of self-employed workers to access to credit and exposure to proper business management.
It also affirmed its support for the reconciliation effort by the leadership of congress to ensure NUPENG and NUEE return to the NLC, saying, “As capital and capitalists are building unity, only United labour can confront global capitalism.”
It reaffirmed its “Commitment to the strategic goals of IndustriALL Global Union; Build Union Power, Defend Workers’ Rights, Confront Global Capital and ensure Sustainable Industrial Policy.”
It further reaffirmed its “commitment to implementing the resolutions of the IndustriALL Africa Regional Conference held in Tanzania from October7 to 11, 2019 on Youth, Women, Industrialisation and general resolutions.”
While it commended, “Affiliates of IndustriALL Global Union from South Africa for agreeing to host the Third World Congress of IndustriALL Global Union scheduled to hold in Cape Town next year, the NUTGTWN called on “All affiliates of IndustriALL in Sub Saharan Africa to support South African affiliates to make South Africa 2020 as successful as second historic colourful Congress which took place in Brazil from October 4-7, 2016.”
NASS Passes N10.59trn Budget For 2020 … Jerks Its Appropriation By N264bn, Gives Reason
The two Chambers of the National Assembly (NASS), yesterday passed the Appropriation Bill of N10.59 trillion budget for the 2020 fiscal year with a view to returning the nation’s budget cycle to January to December.
The Lawmakers jerked up the budget as proposed by President Muhammad Buhari to the tune of N246 billion.
The lawmakers passed the 2020 budget following a clause-by-clause consideration of the report of the Committee on Appropriations of the two Chambers.
Briefing the press after plenary session, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Barau Jubril and Stella Odua, respectively, defended the additional N246 billion the lawmakers injected into the budget.
The Chairman described the budgeting process as the best so far because it is the first time the Executive, Senate and House of Representatives came together on a roundtable to agree on a united document as budget of the country.
He defended the N264 billion increase injected into the 2020 budget as not padding of the appropriation bill, but harvested additional revenue, saying the additional fund was brought in conjunction and consultation with the Executive.
Denying that the extra funds injected was padding, Senator Jibrin Barau said the word padding is alien to the 9th Senate because the infusion on additional vote for capital projects was done in collaboration with the executive arm of government.
According to him, the Senate saw avenue to make additional revenue and “just fixed the expected increased revenue to sectors in need of additional revenue”.
He said “In a Presidential system of government, there is room for checks on what any arm of government is doing by the other. President Buhari no doubt presented a perfect budget, but it is our own responsibility as the parliament to critically look at what was presented by the executive and make corrections where necessary.
“During the course of deliberating on the budget, we saw opportunities of where we can get additional income for the government and we deployed them to areas that need further spending.
“The National Assembly has the right to do it and that is what we have done”, he said.
Presenting the report, Senator Barau Jibrin said the increase of N264billion allowed for interventions in critical areas such as national security, road infrastructure, mines and steel development, and health.
A breakdown of the budget, Senator Jubrin said, is that Statutory Transfer stood at N560.5billion, recurrent expenditure-N4.8billion, capital expenditure-N2.5billion, debt servicing-N2.7illionbn, fiscal deficit-N2.3trillion and deficit to GDP of 1.52 per cent.
He pointed out that daily oil production stood at 2.18 million barrels per day, Oil Benchmark stood at $57 per barrel against $55 proposed by the Executive, while the exchange rate stood at N305 per dollar.
Capital Expenditure for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) for the 2020 fiscal year are: Ministry of Defence N116,181,290,730; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N7,608,141,474; Ministry of Information and Culture, N7,555,803,233; Ministry of Interior, N34,035,825,302; Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, N1,722,796,040; Ministry of Police Affairs, N15,959,986,864; Ministry of Communication Technology, N5,919,002,554; and Office of the National Security Adviser, N27,418,469,323.
Others are: Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, N25,188,940,930; Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, N2,158,620,395; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, N124,395,096,917; Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, N4,976,199,925; Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, N38,583,331,761; Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, N24,445,756,678; Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, N62,882,531,566; Federal Ministry of Transport, N121,366,932,571; and Federal Ministry of Aviation, N52,061,533,122.
Also, for the 2020 fiscal year, the Ministry of Power has an allocation of N129,082,499,363; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, N3,337,444,887; Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, N10,431,563,177; Ministry of Works and Housing, N315,563,564,269; Ministry of Water Resources, N91,679,927,042; Ministry of Justice, N3,853,600,220; Federal Capital Territory Administration, N62,407,154,360; and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, N23,120,350,399.
Others include: Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, N3,735,486,210; Military of Women Affairs, N6,650,300,966; Federal Ministry of Education, N84,728,529,572; Ministry of Health, N59,909,430,837; Federal Ministry of Environment, N12,350,140,731; and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, N61,085,146,003.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks after the 2020 budget was passed, said, “when we came in, all of us approved our legislative agenda, and one of the key pillars of this agenda is to take back our budget cycle from the very undesirable cycle that cannot be defined to something that can be defined and bought into by our country and business partners living in and outside the country.
“Today, we have been able to achieve this. It means where there is will, there is always a way. This is something that we have been able to achieve together with the House of Representatives.
“I must give members of the Ninth National Assembly the credit, because we thought it was going to be impossible.
“Let me also commend the buying-in of the executive arm of government. When we continued to preach that we have to receive the 2020 budget estimates before the end of September, it was not easy for the executive.
“I know they (Executive) worked day and night. So it was presented to us on the 8th of October. We have been able to work harmoniously. There is no way we can achieve this without all of us working together.
“I want to commend our colleagues from the opposition. This Senate from the beginning, we said, will be bi-partisan. You have given us all the support that we require, and indeed, this is the way it should be”, Lawan added.
The Senate President also noted that with the recent passage of landmark legislations such as the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act, Finance Bills and Public Procurement Bills by the National Assembly, the Executive arm of government is sufficiently empowered to ensure the successful implementation of the 2020 budget.
By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
Wike, Building Legacy For Tomorrow -Nsirim
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information And Communications, Rivers State, and Commissioner-designate, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, says the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike is building lasting legacies for tomorrow through the various developmental projects going on across in the state.
Nsirim said the traffic gridlock being witnessed in major roads across part of the state, was due to the concerted efforts by the state Chief Executive’s transformation policies which, he said, havw turned the state to a construction site.
He, therefore, urged residents and visitors to the state, to bear with the State Government and not worry about what they see around, saying that it is the vision of the NEW Rivers mantra to place the state on the trajectory of leadership and governance.
Nsirim, said this while declaring open a two-day workshop for Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), and Heads of Public Relations (PR) and protocol being hosted by the RSUBEB in Port Harcourt yesterday, with the theme, “Bridging the Gap and Breaking New Grounds in UBE Public Relations/Protocol Practice”.
He described the role of PROs and Protocol officers in basic education management in the country as very strategic and urged them to improve on their professional competencies in order to drive the programmes in their various boards.
“Your roles in basic education is very strategic.There are new strategies being introduced by government to ensure that basic education receives a boost in the country”, he stated
Nsirim also urged them not to see the workshop as an avenue to make new friends, but to improve on their proficiency in order to bring in various stakeholders into the activities of the board .
“What ever opportunity and duty you find yourself, see it as a service to God and write story of prosperity”.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the state SUBEB, Ven. Fyneface Akah, said the workshop was a unifying event that offers a moment of exchange of ideas and skills as well as orderliness among the Public Relations Officers and Protocol managers in order to streamline the way of doing things.
According to him, the workshop will help them on how to get the public to know and understand the workings of the board, adding that they have much work to do in making people understand the activities of the board.
In his own speech, the head, UBEC Public Relations and Protocol, Abuja, Mr. Ossom M. Ossom, who read the good- will message of the UBEC Chairman, said “Public Relations and Protocol practitioners owe it a duty, especially to Nigeria’s school-age population, to use every available opportunity in drawing the attention of all UBE stakeholders to the fact that our country cannot afford to berth and pass through the coming decade as largely uneducated entity and with the largest population of out-of-school children in the world”.
Earlier in an interview with newsmen, the Head of legal and Public Relations, SUBEB, Barr Karibi T. George, said “Public Relations is the live wire of every organization because it builds on the corporate image and reputations of organisation to build public Confidence”.
We’ll Monitor Commissioners’ Performance -RSHA …As NUJ commends Wike on Nsirim’s Appointment
The Rivers State House of Assembly has finally confirmed the nomination of 13 Commissioner-nominees sent to it by the governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
The confirmation was finally done after debate and sitting to scrutinize complete tax certificate and clearance of one of the nominees, Mr. Sylvanus Nwankwo.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani said it was the constitutional mandate of the legislature to screen and confirm Commissioner-nominees; hence, it was not a witch-hunt on any of the nominees.
Debate on whether the nominees should be confirmed after they appeared on the floor of the House on Tuesday started when the Leader, Hon Martin Amaewhule, described all the nominees as, “fit and zealous” persons with requisite qualifications.
In the same vein, Hon. Matthew Dike of Tai Constituency said, “The Commissioner Nominees sent to this Assembly are landmark. It is full of men and women of proven integrity “.
On his part, Hon. Michael Chinda of Obio/Akpor Constituency 2 submitted that the Assembly will beef up its oversight on them, and therefore urged the nominees to be alive to their duties or bow out.
Chinda insisted that performance is key, saying that the House will monitor the activities of the screened and approved Commissioner nominees.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, has commended the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for appointing their past State Chairman and two times Press Secretary to the Governor, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim as Commissioner.
Chairman of the State NUJ, Stanley Job Stanley, in a chat with The Tide, said the union is excited that after few years a professional communicator has been chosen to serve the state.
Though the nominees, who have been screened and confirmed by the Assembly, are yet to be sworn in and assigned port, folios, the NUJ Chairman expressed confidence that Nsirim will man the Information and Communications Ministry which he (Nsirim) had been a Permanent Secretary in the past three years.
“We are happy for the appointment because as a union, we have been advocating that professionals be appointed to man the Ministry.
“It will be a boost to the image of the NUJ because Nsirim was our former Chairman and for a very long time we have been longing for press/government relations to be cordial,” Stanley stated.
He described the appointment of the Permanent Secretary as well deserving, urging him to use his good offices to boost journalists/ government relations in the state.
Pastor Nsirim was among the 13 Commissioner-nominees screened and confirmed by the Assembly on Wednesday.
Nisirm, a Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Information and Communications until his nomination as a Commissioner, is currently the State Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations(NIPR).
He has in the last six months championed a statewide image advocacy campaign tagged,” Our State, Our Responsibility.”
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