… Approves conversion of natural gas to methanol, to solve Gas flaring challenge***
The Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, has approved the payment of arrears of the new minimum wage as agreed upon by the Organised Labour and the Federal Government. It also approved the conversion of natural gas to methanol in order to address the environmental challenge caused by gas flaring.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige indicated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Ngige said that the Council also approved the payment of all outstanding financial implications of the consequential adjustments as worked out by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, beginning from April 18.
“Council today approved for us that the financial implications be worked out by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, as consequential adjustments should take effect from April 18, the date the new national minimum wage came into being.
“The Council also approved for us that the financial implications be worked out and the attendant payments completed on or before Dec. 31.
“Council further directed that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, through the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, should effect all these payments as scheduled before Dec. 31.
“Council further directed also that the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and the Ministry of Labour and Employment should send the consequential adjustment (wage) table to down to the States and Local Governments.
“This is to serve as an advisory document for their information and guidance, as they negotiate with their joint national public service councils in their respective states because the national minimum wage is a national law,’’ he said.
The organised labour and the Federal Government had, on Oct. 18, reached an agreement on the consequential adjustments of the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30,000, after three days of negotiation.
The Federal Government team to the agreement included the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and his Minister of State, Dr Festus Keyamo
Witnesses to the agreement from the government side were Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Acting Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and Mr Olusegun Olufehinti, Director, IPPIS, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
“The consequential adjustment for Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS), called group one, is GL 07 – 23.2 percent; GL 08 – 20 percent, GL 09 – 19 percent, GL 10 – 14, 16 percent and GL 15-17, 14 percent.
“The second group consists of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), Consolidated Tertiary Educational Institutions Salary Structure (CONTEDISS), Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure II (CONUASS II).
“Others are: Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Academic Salary Structure (CONPCASS) and Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS).
“For Grade Level seven and its equivalent, it is 23.2 percent, GL 8-14 equivalent, 16 percent and GL 15-17 equivalent, 10.5 percent,’’ he explained.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, who also spoke on the outcome of the Council meeting, said N1.7 billion was approved for the procurement and installation of communications equipment and absolute control contour for control towers at the Aviation Training School in Zaria and Katsina airports.
He said: “we presented a memorandum for the award of contract for the procurement and installation of communications equipment and absolute control contour for control towers in Zaria and Katsina.
“The total contract sum is N1,71460,196.10, including Value Added Tax (VAT) while the completion period is eight months.
“This is to address critical safety issues in such a way that there will be better communication and efficiency in the control towers in Zaria and Katsina, and this is ongoing, similar to what we have done in other airports,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the FEC has also approved the conversion of natural gas to methanol in order to address the environmental challenge caused by gas flaring in the country.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, briefed State House correspondents after the FEC meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the gas flaring, which had constituted a problem over the years, would be addressed by converting natural gas to methanol which could be used in many sectors on the economy.
“The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology presented a memo to council that requires the utilisation of Methanol in our economy.
“The problem that we have in the Niger Delta where our natural gas is flared and it has created lots of problems; environmental problems; and also problems for fellow Nigerians living around those areas where the gas is continuously flared.
“It is of major concern to this administration and one way to help us to completely solve this problem of gas flaring is to convert the natural gas into Methanol.
“Methanol is a liquid that finds use in virtually all sectors of the economy; you can use methanol for transportation; all those racing cars that they put M85, M100, essentially, that ‘M’ is methanol and then 15 per cent gasoline but for ordinary use, normally the blending will be 15 per cent of methanol so that you don’t need to make any adjustments to your vehicle.
“Then, also, methanol can be used to replace diesel for all these trucks that we find on our high ways because methanol is cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
“So that all the problems associated with the use of diesel can be solved by the use of methanol.’’
According to Onu, women and people in the rural areas can use methanol for cooking so that it will replace kerosene.
He said that when cooking was done with kerosene, it resulted to soot which darkened the pot as well as creating health problems for the users.
The minister said that methanol did not have soot as it was very clean, safe and cheap.
“It is one way that we utilise our gas in our rural areas and it is going to help us in this problem of deforestation; because today, we are losing many of our forests and trees because we are using them for domestic energy use; so methanol will do this.
“Methanol is also useful in generating electricity power plant; many power plants currently use diesel and all that; methanol will be a replacement.