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Workers Day: Wike Approves Pension Payment To 1,191 Additional Retirees

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The Rivers State Government has approved the immediate release of monthly pensions for additional 1,191 retirees from the Rivers State Civil Service.
The State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, disclosed this during the celebration of the 2022 Workers Day at Isaac Boro Park, Port Harcourt, last Monday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the governor said the payment took immediate effect from the month of April, 2022, stressing that the payments were received between Thursday and Friday, last week.
Wike, who reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to the welfare of workers, said under his watch, salaries are paid to all workers in the public sector promptly and provides monthly overhead costs to enable them perform their functions and run their offices effectively.
“Rivers State Government pays salaries to all workers in the public sector promptly and provides monthly overheads to enable them perform their functions and run their offices effectively. …Government has paid all outstanding monthly pensions up till date for all who have completed their biometrics.”
“The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike approved the release of monthly pensions for additional 1,191 retirees from the Rivers State Civil Service, which payment took immediate effect from the month of April, 2022, and was effected precisely on Thursday/Friday, last week. Now, Rivers State is committed to the welfare of our workers.”
He said government also provides impress to all schools under SUBEB and the secondary schools board, which has eliminated illegal levies to our students.
Wike expressed regrets, that the State NLC Chairperson, Comrade Beatrice Itubo, who had in the past, applauded him as the most worker-friendly governor, was the first to criticise his presidential ambition.
The governor described the theme for this year’s May Day Celebration, “Labour, Politics, the Quest for Good Governance and National Development”, as apt, in view of the current socio-economic and security challenges foisted on the people of Nigeria by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
While noting that the Rivers State Government has been able to surmount most security challenges to give workers in the state a safe environment to work in, Wike wished all workers in the state and their counterparts worldwide, a Happy May Day celebration.
”There is no development that can reasonably be achieved in the face of massive insecurity, banditry and herdsmen carnage that has pervaded our dear nation in the recent past.
“Rivers State under the watch of Governor Nyesom Wike has been able to surmount the security challenges within her domain to give the workers in Rivers State a safe environment to work in.”
The governor, who described civil servants as the engine room of government, urged public and private workers in the state to remain productive and committed to carrying out their duties.
Wike assured the workers that the recommendation of the tripartite committee would be adequately addressed.
“I do believe that we will continue to work together, be productive in our work. It’s the cooperation between government and labour we need to be able to improve the welfare of our workers.”
In her remarks, the state Chairperson of Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Beatrice Itubo, said the labour family was delighted with the state government’s payment of pension arrears to retirees, and implored them to implement the recommendations contained in the tripartite committee report.
She commended the state government for providing an enabling environment in terms of security for workers to do their jobs.
Itubo appealed to the state government to act on the welfare of the state workers by implementing the payment of arrears of the National Minimum Wage from April, 2019.
“Implementation of their promotions, payment of pension and gratuity to retirees, payment of death benefits, and termination of contract appointments to allow career progression in the public service must be done by the government.
“Others are renovation of the state secretariat complex, proper funding of tertiary institutions and inclusion of minimum wage, reinstatement and payment of over 100 workers of Ahoada West Local Government Council,” she said.
She particularly commended the state governor for leading the fight against illegal bunkering head-on.
“Let me seize this opportunity to commend Rivers State Government for the actions it has taken so far on this matter, which has made the soot that tended to become part of our reality to disappear.
“It took just a matching order from the governor to local government council chairman, traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders for illegal bunkering and illegal refining of crude oil to drastically reduce,” she stressed.
The NLC chairman commended the government for effectively tackling insecurity in the state.
“We can proudly say on good authority that in spite of the fact that criminality has assumed a much more sophisticated dimension globally, security situation in Rivers State is getting better than what it used to be a few years ago. The Government of Rivers State deserves credit for this.”
She urged the Federal Government to redouble its efforts in safeguarding the lives of the Nigerian people by tackling the security challenges facing the country.
The labour leader reminded workers of the state to note that their welfare in the coming years depends on the people they give their mandate to in 2023, and urged them to get their PVCs, while urging political gladiators to play politics with civility.
Also speaking, the State TUC Chairman, Comrade Austin Jonah, commended workers for their tenacity, sacrifice and determined contributions to the development of the state, while commending Governor Nyesom Wike for the prompt payment of workers’ salaries as well as his recourse to dialogue as a social tool for reconciling industrial disputes in the state.
Similarly, the National Vice Chairman, South-South, Labour Party (LP), Mr Prince Ruben, also called on government at all levels to improve on the welfare of workers to enhance productivity.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others

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The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30billion to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12billion new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.”
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.”

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FG Postpones FAAC Meeting Over AGF’s N80bn Probe

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The Federal Government has announced the postponement of May, 2022 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The sudden postponement may not be unconnected with the ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged fraud to the tune of N80billion.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly meeting where the federation allocates monthly revenue among the three tiers of government.
The meeting had earlier been scheduled to hold virtually between May 18 and 19, 2022.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a letter signed by Director, Home Finance,Stephen Okon.
The ministry said the meeting was postponed due to “certain circumstances.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May, 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances,” the circular reads.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Minister’s warm regards,” the letter read in part.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday arrested and detained Idris over an alleged N80billion fraud.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced indefinite suspension of Idris, last Wednesday.
Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

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Nigerian Out-Of-School Children Hit 18.5m

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Nigeria has 18.5million out-of-school children (OSC), the highest number in the world, and out of the figure, 10million are girls, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, stated this at a media dialogue on ‘Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3, GEP 3’, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by UNICEF.
“For those lucky to be in school, their condition is also not enviable given the situation of public schools in the country. Only recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), said 50per cent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture”Farah said.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, said this in Abuja at a one-day civil society organisations’ CSO-Legislative Roundtable Meeting where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two per cent to four per cent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding on the security challenges bedevilling the country, insisting that rising student population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibezim, decried the failure of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), to sustain some UBEC-initiated projects such as classrooms and libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
“If classrooms are dilapidated, and there are not enough furniture, what about teachers and the quality of the ones available? The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said there are over 300,000 unqualified teachers in the system.
“Education is very important to be left in the hands of quacks and that is why at TRCN, we are stepping up efforts at ridding the system of unqualified hands. We implore teachers and their employers to take advantage of the various windows TRCN is providing to improve the quality of teachers in the country so as to get better results from our education system,” he said.
For the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, there is need for better funding of the education sector.
He noted that in many states, teachers are overwhelmed by the number of pupils and students they handle.
“In so many states, there is inadequacy of teachers. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 years and yearly, teachers are leaving the system through retirement, resignation or even death. Worse hit by poor staffing are schools in the rural areas. Such schools are called hard-to-staff schools.”
It is in that regard that the welfare packages announced by the Federal Government are very much necessary,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, the National President of the National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, decried the manner some state governments are implementing the Basic Education Policy of the government whereby pupils and students in primary and junior secondary schools are to enjoy free education and are given textbooks in some core subjects.
“Some states are not doing well in that respect. They have abandoned the programme. They are not funding education as it ought to be funded. Even counterpart funds that some states should put down to complement the funds from UBEC are not provided. Some states have even misused UBEC funds and are suspended from getting further grants.
“We are talking now about our tertiary institutions that are grounded by workers’ strikes, the basic education level, which is the foundation, is not faring better too. Something urgent must be done to redress the situation before the sector collapses finally,” he noted.

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