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RSG Approves N30,000 Minimum Wage For Workers …Wike, ‘Doyen Of Infrastructure Dev In Nigeria’, NMA Affirms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has approved the immediate implementation of N30,000 new minimum wage and the consequential adjustments as approved by the Federal Government.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, reads, “His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has graciously approved the payment of the minimum wage of N30,000 monthly salary for employees of the Rivers State Public Service with the consequential salary adjustments as approved by the Federal Government”.
The Tide learnt that the approval follows the outcome of series of negotiations by committees from both state Public Service Joint Negotiating Council (PSJNC) and the Rivers State Government.
It was gathered that with the approval of the new minimum wage by the state governor, a fresh salary table may soon be released by the Office of the Head of Service to facilitate implementation of the policy.
The negotiations were triggered by the release of the circular on the new national minimum wage by the Federal Government in November, last year, following the conclusion of negotiations between the Federal Government and organized labour.
It would be recalled that in the salary table released along with the circular, the least paid federal worker on Level 1 Step 1 will earn N360,000 per annum (representing N30,000 monthly) while the highest-paid at Level 17 Step 9 will take home N6,215,435 per annum (representing N517,952.91).
The circular on the new wage, dated November 14 and signed by the Acting Chairman of the National Income, Salaries and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta, said, “Consequent upon the enactment of the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2019 and the negotiations between the Federal Government and organised labour (represented by the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council) in respect of the consequential adjustments of salaries of employees in the federal public service, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has approved the revision of the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS) with effect from the 18th of April, 2019.”
In the breakdown, a worker on Level 1, Step 1 will earn N360, 000 per annum, while Level 1, Step 15 will earn N422, 566 per annum.
The circular further indicated that GL 2 Step 1 will earn N363, 328 and Step 15, N445, 130 (about N37,094.16 monthly); while GL 3 Step 1 will earn N366, 170 (about N30,514.16 per month) with Step 15 on same GL earning N466,718 per annum (about N38,893.16 per month).
Also, workers on GL 4 Step 1 will earn N376,194 (representing N31,349.5 per month) while Step 15 of same level will go home with N497,000 annually (representing N41,416.66 per month).
However, workers on Grade Level 5, Step 1 officer will earn N394, 498 per annum (about N32,874.83 monthly) and on Step 15 earn N534, 834 per annum (representing N44,569.5 monthly), GL 6 Step 1 N449,429 (about N37, 452.41 monthly) and Step 15, N620,495 (about N51,707.91 monthly); just as Level 7, Step 1 officer will earn N638, 133 per annum (representing N53,177.75 monthly) and Step 15 will earn N961, 577 per annum (about N80,131.41 monthly).
In same token, GL 8 Step 1 will take home N799,421 (about N66,618.41 per month) while Step 15 will earn N1, 140, 395 per annum (about N95,032.91 monthly); with GL 9 Step 1 earning N928, 981 (about N77,415.08 monthly) while Step 15 will earn N1,371,711 annually (about N114,309.25 monthly).
Similarly, Level 10 step 1 will earn N1, 060,833 per annum (about N88,402.75 monthly), while Step 15 of the same level will earn N1, 535,417 per annum (representing N127,951.41 monthly) while GL 12 Step 1 will earn N1, 2 21, 722 (about N101,810.16 monthly) with Step 11 earning N1,747,532 per annum (representing N145,627.66 per month).
With the new minimum wage, federal workers on GL 13 Step 1 will earn N1, 362, 110 (about N113, 509.16 per month) and Step 11 of the same GL will go home with N1, 918, 005 per year (about N159,833.75 per month); just as Grade Level 14 Step 1 will earn N1, 503,149 per annum (about N125,262.41 per month) and Step 11 of the same level will earn N2, 101,600 (about N175,133.33 per month).
In the same vein, Level 15 Step 1 to earn N2,027,623 per annum (about N168,968.58 monthly) while Step 9 of the same Level will earn N2,693,980 (about N224,498.33 monthly); just as a civil servant on Grade Level 16 Step 1 will take home N2,505,352 (about N208,779.33 monthly) while government worker on Step 9 of same GL will earn N3,306,197 per annum (about N275,516.41 monthly).
For federal workers on GL 17 Step 1, they will earn N4, 769, 304 (about N397, 442 monthly) and those at Step 9 will take the highest chunk of N6, 215, 435 per annum (about N517,952.91 monthly).
It was learnt that the new salary template does not include some special allowances, including those earned by special duty staff in ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government, including educational, finance and health institutions, which cumulatively increase the wages of affected workers.
The Tide also learnt that the organized labour had announced January 31, as fresh deadline for implementation of the new minimum wage by the various state governments, warning that any state governor that fails to comply with the Federal Government directive would face industrial action by workers. The initial deadline was December 31, 2019.
Also, the President of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Francis Faduyile has described Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike as the “Doyen of infrastructural development in the nation”.
Speaking during a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Faduyile, represented by the Vice President of NMA, Dr Ofem Enang, said that the governor’s outstanding infrastructural development stride was a model for other states to emulate.
Faduyile said: “Your Excellency’s numerous accomplishments in massive infrastructural development across the state, particularly in the health sector, is a model for other states, and this is evidenced in the numerous awards and accolades the governor has received.
“In addition, your passion for sports which has led to the establishment of the Real Madrid Academy in Rivers State is another landmark project aimed at promoting sports and developing our youths. Little wonder, you have been aptly called Mr. Projects. Permit me to add, ‘the Doyen of Infrastructural Development in the nation’”.
The NMA lauded the governor for sustaining the development of the health sector as exemplified by his numerous projects.
“Your recent effort at the state-owned Medical School and the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital Radiology Department, which is world class has shown your passion for the provision of quality health care in the state.
“Your recent move in fast-tracking the health protection bill, in your bid to reduce the burden of out-of-pocket healthcare financing for Rivers people clearly shows your administration’s desire and commitment to put smiles on the faces of Rivers people”.
He appreciated the governor’s decision to include numerous members of the NMA in his administration.
While commending the Rivers State governor for his cordial relationship with the NMA, the Faduyile informed him of the forthcoming Nigerian Doctors’ Games.
He said: “Doctors in Nigeria have decided to meet once every two years to interact, relax and exercise on a sporting platform. This event is aimed at building healthy doctors as well as fostering unity amongst doctors across ethnic, political and religious divided.
“Rivers State is hosting this year’s games, the choice of Port Harcourt for the 2020 event is driven by the traditional hospitality of Rivers people, Your Excellency’s love for sports and the developmental advances under Your Excellency which have made Rivers State a secure destination of choice for many national and international events”.
He added: “It is on this premise that the Nigerian Medical Association wishes to induct you as the Grand Ambassador of the Doctors Games 2020, being a global icon for sports in Africa, particularly, the Power of Sports (Africa).”
Responding, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike assured that his administration would continue to work with all professional organisations to develop the state.
He said that the state government would ensure that all arrangements are in place to ensure that the doctors enjoy hitch-free games.
The governor directed the NMA leadership to liaise with the deputy governor to ensure a successful outing during the games.
The tournament will hold between February 18 and 23, 2020.

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PDP Inaugurates 15 Convention Sub-Committees –

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Wike Chairs Special Duties Committee
6,000 Delegates Expected To Attend

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention Committee, yesterday, in Abuja inaugurated 15 sub-committees for its national convention scheduled for October 30.
The sub-committees as read by the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Duoye Diri, include the National Convention Organizing Committee, chaired by Adamawa State Governor, Hon Ahmadu Fintiri.
Others are Constitutional Amendment Committee, chaired by Akwa lbom Governor, Udom Emmanuel; Zoning Committee chaired by Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Screening Committee, chaired by former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.
Sub-committees and their chairmen also inaugurated were Screening Appeal Committee chaired by Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Special Duties Committee chaired by Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Accreditation Committee chaired by Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; and Security Committee chaired by former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase.
The Electoral (Statutory) Committee, with Adamawa Governor, Hon Ahmadu Fintiri as the chairman; Publicity Committee chaired by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; and Venue Committee, chaired by Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed are also among them.
Others include: Welfare and Entertainment Committee with Mariya Waziri as chairperson; Transportation Committee, with Ibrahim Dankwambo as chairman; and Contact and Mobilization Committee with Taraba Governor, Darius Ishaku as chairman.
The rest are, Protocol Committee with Sen. Biodun Olujimi as chairperson; Medical Committee — Nuhu Zagbayi; and Secretariat Committee — Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri.
Inaugurating the sub-committees, Fintiri expressed belief that the October convention would be successful and lead PDP to victory in 2023.
Fintiri said that the leaders and members of the sub-committees were carefully selected to organize a credible convention for the party.
The Adamawa governor urged them to make the necessary sacrifices to deliver the best convention to the party.
Fintiri, fielding questions from newsmen after the inauguration, said that by PDP’s new constitution, over 6,000 delegates were expected at the convention.
“We are fully prepared for that. We are expecting everybody in every ward that is a delegate to attend the convention.”
He said that the sub-committees had been given directions and they were expected to go back, adequately prepare and submit their report to the main committee for approval.
On which part of the party’s Constitution would be amended, Fintiri said he could not pre-empt the Constitution Sub-Committee, but allow them do their job.
On how far the zoning committee had gone after the one-week appeal he gave them, last week, Fintiri said the committee was in a meeting in Enugu carrying out its responsibilities.
“You can see the party is working, and it is a turning point for all of us,” Fintiri said.
According to him, the leadership tussle in the party has largely been addressed even as he came short of saying the PDP has moved on from the crisis.
He said, “We are moving on. I am the chairman of the convention committee and you can see that we are doing our work. Everybody is happy and participating. I don’t see any crisis in this party.”
The party’s national elective convention is slated for October 30 and 31 this year in Abuja.

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RSG Recommits To Building Agric Sector

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The Rivers State Government has said that it was committed to building the agricultural sector and utilise the huge potentials the state has for the benefit of Rivers people.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this while speaking at a seminar of the Norwegian Seafood Council at Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said, “In the face of dwindling oil prices, and the need to diversify the economy, we see a lot of potentials in the seafood industry especially post Covid-19. This is an important industry for creating employment opportunities, generate revenue and boost economic activities in our area”.
Wike, who said that Rivers State was one of the coastal states in the Niger Delta endowed with valuable seafood resources, revealed that Norway and Nigeria have had a long history of relationship and trade.
According to the governor, “Rivers State, known as the oil and gas hub of Nigeria, is open to do business in all sectors including maritime and welcome more partnerships and investments from stakeholders who wish to do business in the state”.
Wike further said, “In the effort to grow our economy, the Government of Rivers State supports making laws that work for us all, by putting laws in place to improve society’s efficiency. Hence, the assent and signing of the VAT law”.
The Rivers State chief executive, who commended the Norwegian Seafood Council for conducting the seminar in the state, stressed that stock fish was enjoyed across Rivers State by all groups, including low and high earners, while both men and women are involved in the sales in our markets.
“I believe this seminar will examine the many advantages and gains of seafood as well as anticipated support from the Norwegian Embassy in the areas of encouraging deep sea fishing, trawlers, good storage for sea products, training to grow and nurture fish production standard, fish ponds and open fish farms, use of technology and encouragement, support to artisan farmers.
“We believe that the gains for removing stock fish and stock fish heads from the list of items not valid for the FX windows far outweigh the losses if any.
“For all the reasons stated above and many more, we anticipate Federal Government and the CBN’s removal of stock fish and stock fish heads from the list of items not valid for the Central Bank of Nigeria FX window”, Wike further stressed.
In his remarks, the Ambassador Royal Norwegian Embassy, Knut Lein, who described the history of stock fish in Nigeria and Norway as fascinating, said it creates a bond between both countries, and expressed the desire to foster increased cooperation, build on bilateral relations and inform the government of Norway about the opportunities in the country.
He said, “together we could create lots of jobs”, insisting that “doing what we can to promote stock fish trade was a win-win for all of us”.
Highlights of the occasion were the presentation of papers by the Director Africa, Norwegian Seafood Council, Mr. Trond Kostveit, and other stakeholders.
The Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Knut Lein, had earlier paid a courtesy call on Governor Nyesom Wike, at the Government House in Port Harcourt, where the state chief executive expressed the state government’s desire to continue to partner with the Norwegian Embassy to facilitate economy growth and development of both countries, and the state in particular.

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Encourage States To Harness Own Resources For Dev, Wike Tasks FG

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said Nigeria must encourage federating states to harness their resources and generate revenues, including Value Added Tax (VAT) to advance their development.
He also stressed that it was baffling to note that Rivers State was not included among states to benefit from any of the projects to be executed with the fresh loan that the Federal Government was seeking to obtain from the World Bank.
Wike made the observation when the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, led a delegation to present letter of nomination to him as the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award at Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday.
The Rivers State governor observed that there were mounted attempts to frustrate federating states like Rivers, to actualise the constitutional provisions that empower them to harness their resources and revenues, particularly VAT.
The governor decried the situation where the legality of states collecting VAT was not considered on the merit of the law by some public commentators, including state executives, rather, they were politicising it and looking at it from prism of ethnicity and religion.
According to Wike, what the FIRS was doing was illegal, and could be likened to robbing some states to pay others.
“You don’t even need to be a lawyer to know that VAT is not in Items 58 and 59 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Everybody knows that. It is not even in the Concurrent List. Therefore, it falls under the Residual List. It is not arguable. That yesterday, nothing happened, does not mean that today, nothing will happen or tomorrow, something will not happen.
“Nigeria should encourage states to be strong enough to have resources to develop themselves. We are in a federal system where we are practicing unitary system. Everybody at the end of the month will run to Abuja to share money. Nobody comes back to the state to think, how do I develop my state.”
He explained that the contest against the collection of Valued Added Tax (VAT) was started by Lagos State, which had sued the Federal Government at the Supreme Court.
According to him, Rivers State only avoided their pitfall by suing the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which is an agency of the Federal Government that was illegally collecting the tax in the state.
“The issue of VAT did not start from Rivers State. It started in Lagos State when Lagos State challenged it in Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court said you (Lagos) shouldn’t have sued the Federal Government. All you would have done was to sue the agency.”
The governor observed that rather than commend Rivers State Government for seeking to entrench fiscal federalism and constitutionalism, a particular state governor had threatened that the judgement of the court that declared that states, and not FIRS, are entitled to collect VAT within their jurisdiction, will not stand.
He urged those demanding for a brothers’ keeper consideration to first, appreciate the position of the law and situate it rightly.
“Some people say, ‘be your brother’s keeper’. I have no problem in being my brother’s keeper, but why not come out and say, let us tell ourselves the simple truth: as it is provided in the law, who is the person responsible to collect the VAT?
“When you agree to that, that it is the state, then, we can sit down to look at the different problems of states. And not to say ‘be your brother’s keeper’ while you’re doing an illegal thing, in disobeying what the law says you should not do.”
Wike stated that it was sheer act of discrimination for the Federal Government not to include Rivers State as one of the states that will benefit from projects for which it was seeking fresh foreign loans to execute.
“Look at the money that Federal Government has gone to borrow from the World Bank. Of all the projects, in all the states, Federal Government did not include Rivers State.
“Look at the list of projects that states will benefit from this money they’re borrowing from the World Bank that they have sent to National Assembly for approval, the only state that is not benefitting is Rivers State”.
He further noted, “It is the prerogative of Mr President; if he says he does not like Rivers State, if the ruling party says they don’t like Rivers State, I won’t kill myself. But leave the one that the law says I should be the one to collect so that I will be able to develop my own state.”
Speaking further, Wike explained that beyond the provision of infrastructure, his administration was seeking a law that would provide comfortable accommodation for judicial officers on retirement.
The reason, he said, was to ensure that, while in service, the judicial officers can concentrate on their jobs without cutting corners, and avoid corrupt practices.
In his remarks, the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, said the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award was the flagship of award the company.
According to him, Wike was unanimously selected for his remarkable contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and promotion of fiscal federalism with his position on VAT, which would help in the restructuring of Nigeria.
“Today, His Excellency has guided Nigeria to true federalism with the issue of VAT. Knowing what fiscal federalism should be, His Excellency went to court to challenge the collection of VAT, and the court stated that actually the states should collect VAT. And that is laying the foundation for true federalism and fiscal federalism”, he said.
Ukeh commended Wike for his sterling performance in office and infrastructural revolution taking place in Rivers State.

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