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Labour Agrees To Attend Tuesday New Minimum Wage Talks

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FG to Labour: We will resume payment of N35,000 wage awards to workers

The Organised Labour has agreed to attend the ”negotiation” meeting of Tripartite Committee on the Minimum Wage slated for Tuesday.

Mr Etim Okon, the Vice President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), gave the confirmation in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

NAN reports that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the TUC had walked out on the negotiation meeting as the Federal Government proposed N48,000 as new minimum wage for workers in the country.

“The proposal falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations,” the unions said.

Labour also accused the government of failure to provide any substantiated data to support their offer exacerbates the situation and lack of transparency and good faith undermines the credibility of the negotiation process.

”The federal government has apologised and the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday and we are going to appear and present our demand.

“We will still be presenting the N615,000. It is what we presented before we walked out, though our submission was not rejected by the government.

“We only rejected the N48,000 that the government presented. Because they did not show us how they arrived at that amount.

“That is taking cognizance of transportation, housing, food, utilities, health, and education among others which are basic needs of the people.

“So the government should come out clearly with what they are offering with the indices and variables and also how they arrived at that. This is all what we are saying,” he said.

READ ALSO  Minimum wage: N’Assembly may propose seizing defaulting states, LGs’ allocations

Also, Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, Director-General of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) told NAN that he hoped that the Tuesday meeting on the Tripartite Committee would be successful.

Oyerinde said that the federal government had prevailed over what happened at the last meeting as labour had walked out of the negotiation process.

“I am happy the government had prevailed on the issue and they would be coming back to the table for the actual negotiations.

Source: The Daily Trust

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Economy

Minimum wage: N’Assembly may propose seizing defaulting states, LGs’ allocations

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NASS

The National Assembly has resolved to ensure that states, local governments, and the Organised Private Sector stop defaulting in the payment of the approved minimum wage.

The National Assembly may even consider seizing allocations of states and local governments that fail to comply with the new minimum wage, says a source who spoke anonymously with Saturday PUNCH, because he was not authorised to speak on the matter.

This is as the National Assembly announced plans to include a clause that will provide clear sanctions for defaulters of the new minimum wage bill that will be passed after receiving the Wage Award Bill from President Bola Tinubu.

This was made known by the Senate spokesperson, Yemi Adaramodu, who explained that lawmakers would expedite the passage of the Wage Award Bill once President Tinubu sent it.

He also hinted that the President would send the bill after the National Assembly resumed from the Sallah recess on July 2.

In his Democracy Day broadcast on Wednesday, the President had promised to forward a bill on the new minimum wage to the National Assembly soon.

The Federal Government and labour unions have been at odds over the new minimum wage, with union leaders demanding N250,000. Meanwhile, the Federal Government and the OPS countered with an offer of N62,000, while state governors maintained that they could not sustain a minimum wage higher than N60,000.

Labour unions have repeatedly dismissed the government’s offer, labelling it a “starvation wage”.

The Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, Chris Onyeka, stated that Organised Labour would not accept the latest offer of N62,000 or the N100,000 proposal suggested by some individuals and economists.

Expressing concern over the labour leaders’ demands and the potential economic repercussions, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, stated on Wednesday that the N250,000 minimum wage proposal could destabilise the economy, lead to mass layoffs, and jeopardise the welfare of Nigerians.

Despite labour’s firm stance on the N250,000 minimum wage, the President emphasised that the government would pay workers what it could afford.

Addressing concerns about compliance, especially given that some states still pay the old N18,000 minimum wage, while others comply with the current N30,000, Adaramodu assured that the new bill will be “watertight”.

He added, “We will ensure it is strictly adhered to as law. The bill will include provisions for sanctions against non-compliance.”

“We are going to produce a watertight bill that we are proposing for the President to sign to ensure that it is strictly adhered to as law. For now, let’s not speculate on the details that the Federal Government will include in the bill to be submitted to the National Assembly.

“But, when it comes, whatever is there and whatever is not, we will ensure that it’s watertight and obeyed by all,” Adaramodu emphasised.

He added, “When we talk about the minimum wage, is it just about the Federal Government? It seems like it’s a fight between the Federal Government and labour. That’s the way everybody is looking at it. We keep mentioning the Federal Government, President Tinubu, and labour. We don’t even talk about the Organised Private Sector or the sub-nationals. The NLC, which recognises the workers in the organised private sector and the sub-nationals, needs to advocate for them.”

“The issue of some states still paying N18,000, though I don’t know because I don’t suspect that to be happening. If some states are paying that, what have the labour unions in those states done to ensure compliance with the N30,000 minimum wage? We need to ask them too. But, like I said, the National Assembly will make this law seriously watertight, with sanctions for non-compliance, whether at the state, sub-national, or organised private sector level,” Adaramodu stated.

READ ALSO  Minimum wage: N’Assembly may propose seizing defaulting states, LGs’ allocations

The Senate spokesperson added that if such measures were not taken in the past, the 10th Assembly would ensure sanctions for defaulters of the newly agreed minimum wage. “That’s how it’s going to be done this time around. But the labour centres also need to protect the welfare of their members, not only with the Federal Government,” Adaramodu reiterated.

Speaking on the possibility of sanctioning state governors, Adaramodu noted that the National Assembly makes laws for the entire country. “The National Assembly makes laws for Nigeria, not just for President Tinubu,” he stated.

When asked about the specific sanctions to expect, the Senate spokesperson said it would be premature to give a definitive answer before the President sends the bill.

“When the executive bill comes and we sit in the chamber during plenary, there will be opinions. The bill, when passed, will progress to the public hearing stage where we will invite not only legislators but also organised labour to contribute to making the law. When that time comes, we will decide on the appropriate sanctions for non-compliance, because we believe that the committee meeting to arrive at an acceptable minimum wage for Nigerian workers includes all necessary stakeholders, including the government, organised labour, and the organised private sector. Whatever result they come up with, we’ll make it law, and nobody will come and speak ambiguously,” he explained.

However, Adaramodu emphasised the urgency and commitment to ensuring Nigerian workers received an improved wage package. “If the bill is presented right after Sallah, we will handle it with lightning speed. It will be passed, because it benefits Nigerian workers,” the legislator affirmed.

Addressing concerns about the timeline for the bill’s passage, the legislator stressed the efficiency of the legislative process. “Even if it is possible within 30 minutes, we will do that. The bill will go through all necessary stages, but we aim to avoid any unnecessary delays,” he said.

Adaramodu added, “So, it depends on the content of the bill, because it will go through the necessary stages of passage. We are not going to sit down and just say the Bill has been passed.

“Once the bill gets to us at the National Assembly, we will go through the processes without delay and make sure that Nigerian workers get their due.”

Reps ready to pass wage bill

Buttressing the words of his colleague, House Minority Leader, Kingsley Chinda, said the Green Chamber was eager to pass the bill along with their colleagues in the Senate.

He said, “We can confirm as a House that the President made the above comment during his visit to parliament.

“I wish to also confirm that we are eager to receive the Supplementary Appropriation Bill and will do justice to it in line with the 10th Assembly’s Legislative Agenda.”

“This is in tandem with our resolve as Parliament to continue carrying out actions that will promote the unity, peace, and development of Nigeria,” he added.

However, Chinda stated, “The economy is biting harder, and the wage doesn’t cover anything. The take-home can hardly take any worker home.

“We don’t need a minimum wage but a living wage. Consider the costs of rent, transport, medical care, and education in fixing workers’ wages.”

Enforcing sanctions requires political will

Speaking with Saturday PUNCH, the National Treasurer of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Hakeem Ambali, called for the political will to enforce sanctions against states, local governments, and members of the Organised Private Sector not complying with minimum wage laws.

He noted that the National Assembly’s move was not new, adding that the former Minimum Wage Act also contained clauses for sanctions, even though they were not strong enough to deter defaulters.

READ ALSO  Minimum wage: N’Assembly may propose seizing defaulting states, LGs’ allocations

“Such clauses have always been in the bill. This will not be the first time that they will be included in the bill. But, the political will to enforce that caveat really matters, though the provision was not strong in the last minimum wage act. If the Senate can do the needful and also oversee the implementation, it will be the best thing for Nigerian workers,” Ambali stated.

Regarding sanctioning defaulters, he said, “Any sanction proposed should be strong enough to deter them from disobeying that law.

“For the state governments that haven’t fully complied with the N30,000 minimum wage payment,” he said, “All of those in that category have been identified by Labour, and some of them have started approving the new minimum wage. That shows that it is all about the inability or deliberate refusal to pay due to a lack of priority for workers. Sadly, they are doing themselves harm because workers are the engine rooms that drive development. A happy and well-motivated worker is a very good asset to productivity and development.

“I believe there is no governor or local government chairman in Nigeria who cannot pay the minimum wage if we set our priorities right and desire true productivity in the country.

“We have not seen any new proposal. We expect Mr President to also engage Labour directly, so that we will have an amicable solution in the best interest of the country. The engagement does not need to take time. When there are two positions on the ground, we expect that there must be a way to harmonise the positions.”

Fayemi seeks decentralised negotiations

Meanwhile, former Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, reiterated the need for decentralised minimum wage negotiations. He emphasised the importance of allowing states to conduct their own wage negotiations with labour unions, separate from the Federal Government.

Fayemi, who is also a former Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, which aired on Friday night.

Fayemi stated, “The position of the Nigerian Governors Forum when I was chairman of the forum, and I believe even till this recent negotiation, is that we should decentralise minimum wage negotiations and allow states to have their negotiations with their labour unions, while the federal government conducts its own negotiation, because the circumstances are not equal.”

Highlighting the disparity in resources accruing to states, Fayemi said, “The Governor of Lagos State should not be earning the same salary as the Governor of Ekiti State. He has more resources, but we all go by rank. And, the N600,000 that I earned in Ekiti is what Governor Sanwo-Olu earns in Lagos.

“I don’t believe that we’re being realistic. This should be decentralised,” he added.

‘NASS should not concentrate on sanctions’

Speaking with Saturday PUNCH on the matter, the Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, said it was not the responsibility of the National Assembly to propose or introduce new clauses on sanctions, noting that the already existing National Minimum Wage Bill contained provisions for violations and enforcement.

He added that as it would be easier for the private sector to comply with the new minimum wage, the National Assembly should instead build an enabling system and environment that would make it easier for states and local government councils to enforce it.

He said, “It is not the responsibility of the Senate to say they will impose sanctions. They cannot impose sanctions. It is an anomaly, a demonstration of ignorance. The National Minimum Wage Bill itself has provisions for violations and enforcement. Those provisions are already in the Bill that has been agreed by the tripartite. The Bill for the national minimum wage as it is in 2019 is comprehensive enough and addresses every issue. If an employee is aggrieved, there is a process that has been established for them to seek redress. So, sensationalising the minimum wage is just creating problems.

READ ALSO  Minimum wage: N’Assembly may propose seizing defaulting states, LGs’ allocations

“See, this is a labour bill issue that has already captured the basis of penalties. It is a tripartite bill, and I think it is high time we started getting this thing correctly. It is a tripartite bill that the government, labour and workers have agreed upon. Some of these things are already captured. They are just sensationalising it. Most times, they commit these errors as if they can legislate compliance. If they legislate compliance and there is no instrument to carry out effective monitoring, then you just make the law for making sake. When they agreed on N30,000, some governors were still paying N5,000 or N20,000. The machinery for enforcement in the states is where the issue is. It is easier for the private sector to comply, but at the state and local government levels, what is the machinery that they put in place to enforce it?

“What the National Assembly should address is how to build a system around compliance. If we don’t create an environment that makes compliance easy, we will just be running helter-skelter. They should create an environment that will make it easy for local governments and the states to pay it. It is greater than an environment that already made my business profitable. If tax collection is so efficient or effective, they should not evade the principle of fairness, because that is why some people try to evade and cut corners with tax.”

Need for public hearing

Speaking with Saturday PUNCH, a professor of law at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Edward Bristol-Alagbariya, said the National Assembly cannot pass the executive bill on minimum wage without a public hearing to get inputs from the people, and even Organised Labour, that represent the workers.

He noted that arbitrarily passing the executive bill into law without a public hearing was inappropriate.

He said, “Labour represents the people. And, whenever you want to make an Act in the National Assembly, there is supposed to be a public hearing. The people have to appear and participate in the process of making laws. That is how citizens participate in their own governance. But if the citizens have not participated and you come up with a bill, then the National Assembly is not supposed to enact a law in vacuum. They are expected to look at the concerns of the citizens and what they want, because the lawmakers are the peoples’ representatives.”

Also reacting, a professor of Employment Relations and Labour Studies at the University of Lagos, Akeem Akinwale, said the ongoing controversy between the government and the Organised Labour was simply a political affair.

He said what the Organised Labour should be clamouring for was price control and reduction in the high inflation slashing the peoples’ purchasing power, as well as a drastic cut in the humongous salaries of public office holders in the country.

“What is happening is purely political. The tripartite committee comprises government representatives, employers’ representatives, and the Organised Labour. The reason President Tinubu made the statement is because the government representatives and employers’ representatives had agreed that they were not going beyond N62,000. Labour has not agreed with that proposal, but out of the three groups, two have agreed. So, I think it is on the strength of this that the Federal Government wants to go ahead to legislate on the new minimum wage.”

Source: The Punch

 

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Hardship: Labour kicks as 20 states deny workers wage award

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Minimum wage: Labour rules out strike on Tuesday, awaits Tinubu’s nod

Eight months after the Federal Government commenced payment of N35,000, a wage award in addition to N30,000 minimum wage to workers, and urged state governments to replicate it, 15 states are yet to do so while seven paid briefly and stopped.

The wage award was to lessen the burden of economic hardship on the citizenry pending the implementation of a new minimum wage.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, described the refusal of some states to pay the wage award to their workers as the height of insensitivity, lamenting the suffering workers were going through as a result of the anti-poor policies of the government.

Meanwhile, 15 states are paying sums ranging from N10,000 to N40,000 to their workers as wage awards or salary increments.

States that are not paying include one in the South-East, four in the South-South, three in the North-East, two in the North-Central and five in the North-West.

Meanwhile, states that paid wage awards for one to four months and stopped include Delta, Niger, Plateau, Kaduna, Bauchi and Nasarawa.

On the other hand, states that are paying are Lagos, Edo, Bayelsa, Imo, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Ondo, Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Kano, Kwara, Cross River and Taraba.

Tinubu’s plea
President Bola Tinubu, in March, during a working visit to Minna, Niger State, urged the 36 state governors to begin payment of wage awards to workers in their states, saying the move will alleviate hardship in the country.

Governors Hyacinth Alia (Benue), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara) were among the governors at the event.

Speaking directly to Abdulrazaq, who is chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Tinubu said: “I have been paying wage awards pending determination of the new minimum wage. Let all the sub-nationals start paying that. The wage award, with whatever they are taking now, will relieve the public. I am not giving an order, I am appealing to you sub-nationals. It’s a relief to the people.”

States not paying
Despite the president’s plea, many states are yet to commence paying wage awards to their workers.
In Delta State, the Commissioner for Information, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza said the state government will set up a committee to examine wage-related issues.

He said: “Governor Sheriff Oborevwori said during Workers Day that a committee would be set up to look into it so that, at the end of the day, we can be able to be on the same page with labour and workers; that is the line we are following.”

On whether the committee will look into wage awards in addition to minimum wage, Osuoza said: “Anything that has to do with emoluments for workers, the committee will look at it.”

Rivers and Akwa Ibom governments said they were waiting for an official declaration by the Federal Government on the wage increase while the Delta State government had set up a committee to review workers’ wages.

Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State assured that his administration will key into the new minimum wage for workers when it comes into force.

“We have directed the compilation of casual workers in the state. We will continue to ensure that we support our workers, and we will continue to do our best to make them happy. We will ensure that we continue to improve our workers’ welfare.

“And on the minimum wage, we will wait for the Federal Government and then we will key into it and come to terms with the minimum wage for Akwa Ibom civil servants,” the governor stated on Workers Day.

The Rivers State Government is also awaiting the outcome of the tripartite negotiations between the Labour, Organised Private Sector, and the Federal Government on minimum wage to determine its next action.

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While labour is demanding N250,000 minimum wage, the Federal Government and OPS have offered N62,000. President Tinubu in his Democracy Day broadcast said he will send an executive bill to the National Assembly on the issue soon.

Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, said: “With the robust relationship existing between government and workers in the state, we are only waiting for the outcome of ongoing negotiations between Labour and the Federal Government to do the needful. We will take a position when the parties decide what to pay the workers. We will look at the size of our portfolio and decide on what to do.”

President of Rivers State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Clifford Paul, told Vanguard that Governor Sim Fubara had approved the payment of N35,000 to workers
He said Fubara announced the approval during a meeting with NULGE leadership and principal officers of the local government councils at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

“The governor also approved immediate implementation of the N35,000 wage award approved by the Federal Government to cushion the effect of the removal of .”

The chair of the NLC in the state, Alex Agwanwor, regretted that the governor had not commenced the implementation because of political distractions.

He said: “The state government has not started the payment but plans have been concluded. The problem we have now is the political unrest in the state. The political distraction in the state is much and I think it is affecting the implementation.

“We are not bothered about that now. It is not our priority now. What the governor is doing for the workers in the state is even more. We cannot assess his performance based on that because he is taking care of the welfare of the workers with a good heart,” he said.

Workers plead with Otti
An Abia, Chairman of the NLC, Okoro Ogbonnaya, pleaded with Governor Alex Otti to approve the payment of the N35, 000 wage awards to mitigate the plights of workers in the face of the biting economic hardship in the country.

In his response, Governor Otti promised to look into the workers’ request and take action very soon.

Kebbi sets up minimum wage committee
In Kebbi State, the state government is yet to begin payment of wage award but the governor on May 1, 2024, set up committee to come up with a sustainable minimum wage for workers.

Borno, Yobe distribute foodstuff, palliatives
Although Borno and Yobe states under the leadership of Governors Babagana Zulum and Mai Buni, were yet to pay wage award to civil servants or pensioners, the two states have procured and distributed food and non-food items to the citizenry, including civil servants and pensioners, all aimed at cushioning the economic hardship.

States that paid partially and stopped
In Niger State, the government is paying N30,000 minimum wage. Governor Muhammed Bago paid the sum of N20,000 as a palliative to workers once and inaugurated a committee under the chairmanship of the state Head of Service, Alhaji Abubakar Salisu to work out acceptable minimum wage and salary structure for workers in the state.

The Katsina State government is among the states where some level of compliance had been achieved regarding the payment of some form of palliatives to workers.

Governor Umaru Radda paid N15,000 twice as wage palliative to state and local government workers in the state. Pensioners also got N10,000 twice. The first award was paid in February and second was paid as Ramadan/Sallah package.

Nasarawa State government paid workers the sum of N10,000 twice as wage award.

At the same time, retired workers have been paid the sum of N5,000 for four months.

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In like manner, Bauchi State paid N10,000 to its civil servants during the Sallah celebration and gave out some food items as palliatives at other times.

The Plateau State Government has paid N12,000 as palliative to each of its workers for six months.

States paying wage awards
Edo and Bayelsa states have announced wage increment for civil servants in the two states.

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, who signaled the surprise package for workers, gave them a shocker on April 29, two days before Workers Day, when he announced a new minimum wage of N70,000.

He said the new scheme would begin in May, and if the negotiated wage between the Federal Government and labour were higher, the government would make necessary adjustments. As he promised, he started paying the 70,000 minimum wage in May. The Bayelsa State government also approved wage awards for its workers.

A breakdown of the wage awards, worked out by a committee headed by the head of the state’s civil service, revealed that workers from Grades 1–14 received N20,000; 15–17 cadre got N30,000 and Permanent Secretaries N100,000.

Confirming the development, chairman of Trade Union Congress, TUC, in Bayelsa, Julius Laye said: “In Bayelsa State, the payment started last month, although those at the local government received about five months, and it stopped.”

Imo raises wages with N10,000
Governor Hope Uzodinma gave Imo workers N10,000, bringing their current minimum wage to N40, 000.
Imo State government also said it has provided free transportation scheme for workers as part of measures to cushion effect of fuel subsidy removal.

Mbah pays N25000, N10,000 in Enugu
In Enugu, Governor Peter Mbah has been paying wage award since December 2023, to the employees of the state government, local government workers and primary school teachers.

For the state civil servants, the state government pays N25,000 to each worker, but pays N10,000 to employees of local governments and primary school teachers.

Speaking on the issue, Chairman of the TUC in the state, Ben Asogwa, said that workers in the state are happy with the payments, which he described as evidence that the governor is committed to workers’ welfare.

Ebonyi workers get N10,000 extra
,In Ebonyi, Governor Francis Nwifuru added N10,000 as wage award to the salaries of civil servants in the State.

Ondo pays N35,000 to workers, N10,000 to pensioners
In Ondo State, the government is paying N35,000 wage award to workers and N10,000 to pensioners.
Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Ebenezer Adeniyan, said the payment started in October last year.

Adeniyan added that it was supposed to be for three months but the governor extended it, adding that shuttle buses have been provided for workers and schoolchildren across the state by Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa’s administration.

Osun pays N15,000 to workers, N10,000 to pensioners
In Osun State, the government is paying N15,000 to workers while retirees get N10,000 as wage award. The governor had approved payment of wage award since December 2023, and has been paying the said amount till date.

It’s N10,000 in Ogun
The Ogun State government is paying N10,000 wage award to all categories of workers in the state.
Chairman of the TUC in the state, Mr. Lasisi Akeem, said government has been paying N10,000 transport allowance to all civil servants for the past nine months and N10,000 to pensioners

Akeem added that the state government has paid 40 per cent of the basic salary of workers in the state as Peculiar Allowance, to cushion effect of fuel subsidy removal.

Oyo, Kwara, Anambra workers get boost
In Oyo, the state government pays N25,000 to its workers and N15,000 to pensioners. Governor Seyi Makinde started paying the awards in November 2023.

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In addition, the governor also approved payment of 13th month salary to the workers, and released buses to major parts of the state at highly subsidized rates.

Before the six months he promised to pay N25,000 lapsed, he extended the payment of palliatives for another six months making one year.

In Kwara State, civil servants are being paid N10,000 wage award by the state government.
“We are being paid monthly N10,000 wage award by Kwara State government since subsidy removal,” Muritala Olayinka, the NLC chairman, told Vanguard.

In Anambra, Governor Chukwuma Soludo paid N12, 000 for four months between September to December 2023.
Soludo had earlier announced a 10 per cent salary increase, which the state has been paying since January 2023 as part of his response to rising cost of living.

The workers, however, expressed disappointment when the wage increase was stopped at the end of last year. During the last workers’ day celebration on May 1, this year, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Humphrey Nwafor pleaded with Governor Soludo to re-introduce the wage increase in view of the biting inflation in the country, while waiting for the expected new minimum wage.

Lagos pays N35,000 wage award
In Lagos, workers have been getting N35,000 wage award since December 2023 in addition to N35,000 minimum wage to its workers.

Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, Afolabi Ayantayo, said the payment is in line with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to welfare of workers.

“This is in addition to a three-day work week for Levels 1-13 civil servants, which was introduced this year. This measure aims to provide relief and flexibility reflecting the state government commitment to the workforce’s well-being,” he added.

Kano, Taraba workers get wage awards
The Kano State government has been paying workers N20,000 and pensioners N15,000 as wage awards.
In Taraba, the state government is paying the N30,000 minimum wage, and salary increment of N10,000 to N15,000 to workers.

Governors not paying are insensitive –Labour
Reacting to the development, an official of NLC, who spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not authorised to speak, said: “It is a fact that many state governors are not implementing the wage award which was a product agreement Organised Labour reached with the Federal Government on October 5, 2023. This was a product of the understanding of the huge negative consequences government’s policies had foisted on Nigerian works across the nation. This was supposed to be cascaded down to the states by the governors in a dialogue with NLC and TUC in their respective states.

“Governors that are not complying are mainly those who have continued to demonstrate serious disdain and contempt for the plight of workers who create wealth in their states. It is insensitive for a governor who has adjusted upwards the wages of political appointees in their states to believe that workers do not have the right to have a fair share of the resources of the state.

“It is worthy of note that all the governors are beneficiaries of the increased revenue from FAAC as a result of the hike in the price of PMS which created multiples of revenues to the state treasuries. However, because the welfare of the workers are not prioritized by the governors, they divert them into other projects which sometimes are wasteful.

“It is unfortunate that many Governors have continued to see workers’ salaries as charity which it is not. This has shaped their mindset into believing that salaries are a waste instead of an investment which it should be for the state because when workers are paid well, productivity increases and vice versa.”

Source: Vanguard

 

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Tripartite Committee on minimum wage submits report to FG

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The Minister of State for Labour and Employment

The Committee was tasked with the responsibility of recommending a new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers in public and private sectors.

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha meets with the NLC President, Joe Ajaero in Abuja on February 13, 2024. Credit: X/@nkeiruka_reps

The Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, on Monday, submitted report to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation following the conclusion of its assignment.

This was disclosed in statement signed by the Director of Information and Public Relations in office of the SGF, Segun Imohiosen.

He said the that a formal presentation of the Report will be made to President Bola Tinubu for appropriate action, when the leadership of the Organised Labour as well as representatives of Government and Organised Private Sector, who are presently in Geneva, Switzerland for the ongoing International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conference, return to the country.

The SGF thanked the Chairman of the Committee, Bukar Goni Aji and members for their commitment and sacrifices.

Tinubu had inaugurated a 37-Member Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, on Tuesday 30th January 2024, in accordance with the provisions of the Minimum Wage Act, 2019.

The Committee was tasked with the responsibility of recommending a new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers in public and private sectors.

Monday’s submission came days after the committee recommended N62,000 as the new minimum wage and ends months of deliberations.

This followed a series of meetings between the Federal Government, organised labour, and organised private sector.

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However, the organised labour is proposing ₦250,000, which is a shift from its earlier ₦494,000.

Following the submission of the report, President Bola Tinubu is expected to send an executive bill to the National Assembly for legislative action.

We Can’t Pay
Despite the deliberations, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) said the earlier proposal of N60,000 is unsustainable.

According to the governors, many states won’t undertake other projects if the proposal goes through.

‘Starvation Wage’
Labour unions released their industrial action over the new minimum wage to allow for negotiations with the government.

But speaking on Monday, the Assistant General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Chris Onyeka insisted on ₦250,000 as the minimum wage.

“We have never considered accepting ₦62,000 or any other wage that we know is below what we know is able to take Nigerian workers home. We will not negotiate a starvation wage,” he said on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief on Monday.

“We have never contemplated ₦100,000 let alone of ₦62,000. We are still at ₦250,000, that is where we are, and that is what we considered enough concession to the government and the other social partners in this particular situation. We are not just driven by frivolities but the realities of the market place; realities of things we buy every day: bag of rice, yam, garri, and all of that.”

Source: Channels

 

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Customs: Naira devaluation has made Nigerian goods affordable to African countries

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The Federal Government of Nigeria under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, is rolling out two

Timi Bomodi, comptroller of Seme command, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), says naira devaluation has positively impacted exports.

Bomodi spoke on Sunday during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He said imports and exports are usually influenced by market forces, specifically demand and supply.

“The exchange rate plays a big role in determining the demand or the purchasing power of the people,” Bomodi said.

“We are talking about the exchange rate of naira vis a vis its impact on exports. Now, as the value of naira begins to decline, you find out that Nigerian-made goods are considered cheap within the region.

“This encourages people from neighbouring countries to want to purchase goods from Nigeria but while we complain that the exchange rate has a negative impact on imports, it has a positive impact on exports.

“Yes, we couldn’t buy goods because the dollar was high but people saw a cheap naira as an opportunity to get goods from Nigeria.

“For the first time, you have a net export gain for Nigeria vis a vis her neighbouring countries, because you find out that what makes Nigerians go to their neighbours is now making them come to Nigeria.”

Bomodi said the devaluation of the naira has boosted the local economy.

“Even, a devalued naira is an advantage for export, So it’s not such a negative thing but in trade, you have to balance both ends,” he said.

“Here at Seme-Krake border post, we have our primary responsibility as customs which is facilitation of legitimate trade.

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“We deal with a lot of imports and exports and enforce fiscal policies of the government, particularly in area of prohibition.

“In Seme-Krake, the Lagos-Abidjan corridor is considered as the most viable trade corridor in West Africa and indeed the whole of Africa.

“So viable, so strategic to the economic development of Africa that the European Union and other international agencies are ready to cough out a humongous amount of money to develop infrastructure around this axis.”

On June 14, 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the unification of all segments of the foreign exchange (FX) market.

The apex bank said all FX windows are now collapsed into the investors and exporters (I&E) window.

Since the float of the naira, there have been consistent fluctuations in the FX market.

On June 7, the naira appreciated to N1,490 per dollar at the parallel section of the FX market from N1,500/$ on June 5.

Within the same period, the naira appreciated at the official window to close at N1,483.29/$, from N1,488.60/$.

Source: The Cable

 

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Local refining may crash petrol price to N300/litre – Modular refineries

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The pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, should drop to about N300/litre upon the commencement of massive production by the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and other indigenous producers, operators of modular refineries stated on Sunday.

However, they pointed out that this would be achieve when the government ensures the provision of adequate crude oil to local refiners, stressing that refineries abroad were ripping off Nigeria.

Speaking under the aegis of the Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria, they explained that what happened to the cost of diesel after Dangote started producing it, would happen to petrol price once it is being produced massively in Nigeria.

CORAN is a registered association of modular and conventional refinery companies in Nigeria.

“A lot of companies today benefit from the importation of petroleum products at the expense of Nigerians,” the Publicity Secretary, CORAN, Eche Idoko, stated.

He told our correspondent that “if we begin to produce PMS today in large volumes, provided there is adequate crude oil supply, I can assure that we should be able to buy PMS at N300/litre as the pump price.

“Why make Nigerians buy it at almost N700/litre when you know that if you allow refineries work the price will come down? Is it because you want to satisfy the global refiners abroad that are making so much from us?”

When told that there are arguments that it is not possible to have such a drop in price because crude oil, the raw material for PMS, is price in dollars, the CORAN official insisted that petrol price would crash once it is being produced massively by indigenous refiners.

He said, “We were selling diesel for N1,700 to N1,800/litre, but as soon as Dangote refinery started production he brought down the price to N1,200/litre. What other proofs do you need?

As I speak to you now there is every tendency that before December diesel price will drop further. The only reason reason why diesel is not doing below N1,000/litre is because of our exchange rate.

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“If the exchange rate drops, diesel will drop below the N1,000/litre price. Now the exchange rate concern is because Dangote imports crude. If he is not importing, the exchange rate may not have so much effect, though he is still buying crude in dollars (in Nigeria) anyway.”

On May 18, 2024, The PUNCH reported that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, stated that following the laid-down plans of the Dangote refinery, Nigeria would no longer need to import petrol starting June this year.

Dangote had also stated that his refinery could meet West Africa’s petrol and diesel needs, as well as the continent’s aviation fuel demand. He spoke at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, expressing optimism about transforming Africa’s energy landscape.

“Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline (petrol) and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of a litre,” the billionaire had declared.

Also, Dangote had earlier in the year crashed the pump price of diesel to N1,200/litre when the commodity was selling at between N1,700 and N1,800/litre at the time.

He further dropped the price to below N1,000/litre, but could not sustain this price due to the rise in exchange rate. The refinery eventually returned the price to the initial rate of N1,200/litre.

Speaking on Sunday, the CORAN spokesperson stated that this was why the modular refiners had been calling for the sale of crude oil at the naira equivalent of the dollar rate.

“We have told them (government) that even the dollars that you are asking us to use and buy this product, it is detrimental to the country. Strengthen the naira. We will buy at the international market rate, but at a naira equivalent.

“These are the issues and they know these things but we can’t explain why they really can’t take decisions to change these concerns.

“Get crude to local refineries, allow crude purchase in naira equivalent, make the environment business-friendly and watch locally produced petroleum product prices crash,” Idoko stated.

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Nigeria currently has 25 licensed modular refineries. Five of them are operating and producing diesel, kerosene, black oil and naphtha. About 10 are under various stages of completion, while the others have received licences to establish.

Operators of modular refineries earlier stated that aside from the five that are in operation currently, the remaining plants are embattled due to the major challenge of crude oil unavailability, a development that has stalled funding from financiers.

“Only about five of our members have completed their refineries. The others are having a major challenge.

“This challenge is that the people who are supposed to finance them have not disbursed financing for construction because they want some level of guarantee.

“A guarantee that if they finish the refinery, they are going to get feedstock, which, of course, is crude oil,” Idoko had explained.

Oil marketers also believe that the cost of petrol should be lower than its current price once its production begins in Nigeria.

They welcomed the comment of Dangote that his refinery should start pumping out petrol this month, and expressed hope that the cost would be less than the price which the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited currently sells.

“We expect a reduced price for locally produced PMS, as I’ve earlier told you,” the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abubakar Maigandi, stated.

Maigandi, while speaking from Saudi Arabia with our correspondent on Sunday, also stated no date has been communicated to marketers on when Dangote would release petrol to the market. Officials of Dangote refinery have remained mute on this.

“It is a welcome development if the refinery can start releasing PMS this month because as marketers we are currently set to start buying the product from the plant,” Maigandi stated.

The IPMAN president earlier stated that marketers were discussing with the managers of the plant, but not specifically on petrol pricing.

“We have been discussing, but not about the price of petrol yet, rather on other matters such as the registration of members for the purchase of petrol and diesel from the refinery.

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“It is true that we have started buying diesel from them, but you have to register with the company first. So a general registration is ongoing,” he explained.

Maigandi, however, stated that though marketers had yet to receive the projected price for petrol from the plant, dealers would want to see a PMS price of about N500/litre from the Dangote refinery.

“We are looking at having it (PMS) at any price below the NNPC rate. The price which NNPC sells petrol is N565.50/litre, so we are expecting something below that price, maybe around N500/litre,” Maigandi stated.

The oil dealers also joined in the call for the provision of crude oil to local refiners, stressing that this would impact positively on the prices of refined petroleum products.

“Of course, it is important for crude to be made available to local refineries because this will surely affect petroleum products’ prices positively,” the IPMAN president stated.

Regulators speak

The spokesperson of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, George Ene-Ita, said he was sure that the government has guidelines for the provision of feedstock (crude) to indigenous refiners.

Ene-Ita promised to provide additional information on the matter, as he stated that he could not give further details at the time he was contacted by our correspondent.

Recall that the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe, had earlier promised that the government would ensure that crude oil was supplied to domestic refiners.

He stated that in compliance with the provisions of Section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the NUPRC in a landmark move, had developed a template guiding the activities for Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation.

“The commission in conjunction with relevant stakeholders from NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, representatives of Crude Oil/Condensate Producers, Crude Oil Refinery-Owners Association of Nigeria, and Dangote Petroleum Refinery came up with the template for the buy-in of all.

“This is in a bid to foster a seamless implementation of the DCSO and ensure consistent supply of crude oil to domestic refineries,” Komolafe had stated.

Source: The Punch

 

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We are bringing prosperity to Nigerians, Tinubu assures

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President Bola Tinubu has declared that even though his administration is still rejigging Nigeria ‘s financial system, the government is prioritisning people-focused development by providing essential infrastructure and amenities that will improve the quality of life of citizens.

President Bola Tinubu has declared that even though his administration is still rejigging Nigeria ‘s financial system, the government is prioritisning people-focused development by providing essential infrastructure and amenities that will improve the quality of life of citizens.

The President while inaugurating the engineering infrastructure in Guzape District Lot II, in continuation of the celebration of his first year in office, stated that even though he has no plot of land in the district, his infrastructural development policies are people driven.

“I stand here as President; I do not have a plot of land here (Guzape District). But I have the people’s support and the mandate to deliver good quality of life and a living environment.

“That should be enough for all of us to share in the joy of commitment, dedication, perseverance, and the little gifts God has endowed us,”

The President commended Nyesom Wike, the Minister of FCT for providing leadership at the FCT and called on the people to support him

“Minister Nyesom Wike has provided exceptional leadership at a trying time for the country. It has been a very challenging time for us in the country. We are still retooling and rejigging our financial system to bring prosperity and relief to the people of this country.

“You have demonstrated the capacity to build a team, lead a team, and deliver on promises. I commend you, well done.

“To all of you here, to the District Head of Guzape, and the representatives, litigation is not the answer. Compensation is the answer.

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“Development that is focused on the people for economic prosperity and benefits is what we should pursue.

“Of what value is a swathe of land that is blocked by hills and rocks, and that is inaccessible. Let us talk to our people and come together to help build Nigeria,” the President said.

President Tinubu, who commended the contractor handling the project, Gilmor Engineering Limited, emphasized that his commitment to providing infrastructure across the country is not for personal enrichment or aggrandizement.

In his remarks, Wike explained that the contract initially awarded in 2003 at the cost of N14 billion was divided into Lots 1 and 2 to Messrs Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company Nigeria Limited and Messrs Gilmor Engineering Limited.

“Dantata had left the site for long. We had to bring them back after the President approved a memorandum to that effect,” Wike said.

The Minister disclosed that the development of the district, which covers 32km of road, had been fraught with litigations, which, however, did not deter the progress of the project.

He said shortly before the present administration assumed office, the cost of the project was revised to N18.17 billion.

Wike commended the President for not abandoning the project owing to his belief in government as a continuum.

“Since I assumed office as FCT Minister in August 2023, you have never interfered with our work. We are sincerely happy that you gave us the free hand to work,” he said.

The FCT Minister, who appealed to the President to name major roads in Guzape District after literary giants, Chinua Achebe and JP Clark, hinted that the ‘diplomatic area’ in the district will be completed within one year.

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In a project overview, Shehu Ahmad, Executive Secretary, FCDA, said the Guzape District Lot II, is an urban fringe area covering 620 hectares, with 129 hectares encumbered by village settlements.

He said the entire district, Lot 1 and Lot 2, was designed to provide residential, commercial, and recreational facilities covering an entire area of 1,070 hectares of land.

“The Lot 1 area covers an area of 450 hectares, whereas the Lot 2 covers 620 hectares,” the FCDA Executive Secretary said.

 

 

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