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May Day: Buhari Assures Workers Of Improved Minimum Wage

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Presidency frowns at ‘revolution’ marchers, describes the organizers as faceless
  • MAN, CSOs disagree as workers disrupt Abuja May Day rally
  • Gombe govt is set to pay N56,000 minimum wage – Gov. Dankwambo

The Federal Government on Monday reassured the Nigeria workers of Government’s commitment to grant priority attention, including a speedy passage of the new National Minimum Wage.

President Muhammadu Buhari stated this in Abuja in a May Day message to workers on the occasion of marking the 2017 Workers’ Day Rally with the theme, “Labour Relations in Economic Recession: An Appraisal”.

“I am happy to inform you that Government will give expeditious consideration to the proposal contained in the Technical Committee’s Report which was submitted to it on April 6, 2017.

“Government will take necessary steps to implement the final recommendation of the Main Government/Labour Committee as it relates to the setting up the new National Minimum Wage Committee and the needed palliatives.

“This is in order to reduce the discomfort currently being experienced by the Nigerian working class.

“I want to assure you that government will continue to do all at its disposal to better the lots of all Nigerians and more importantly to provide a commensurate welfare for all Nigerian workers”,  President Buhari stated, stressing his awareness of the biting effects of the ongoing economic recession in the country and it’s huge implication for the seamless conduct of industrial relations.

He also noted the multiplier impact of the economic recession which by its nature was characterised by a substantial risk of the “vicious circles of low- productivity; and stressed that the Government was assiduously working towards curbing the menace of mass retrenchment of workers and closure of workplaces due to high cost of doing business; unregulated subcontracting and outsourcing with its consequences on welfare of workers among others.

“I strongly salute your great sense of patriotism and loyalty to the country, ”he said,  calling for effective deployment of labour relations, and an amalgamated approach that would be used in creating a conducive work environment that would further attract foreign investment for wealth creation.

He stressed the need for government, workers and employers to work together to put out the economy from the recession.

“Therefore, I called on the organised labour to continue to partner with this administration by resorting to social dialogue as an indispensable tool for conflict resolution

“Today, we stand in solitary with workers all over the world to commemorate this historic Day which marked a turning point in the economies of the nations and the welfare of  the working class, ”he added.

He commended the organised labour  for their support and encouragement to the administration’s fight against corruption which was the bane of sustainable economic development.

He added that, “my commitment to fight against corruption is total and irreversible. We must fight  corruption before it destroys us.

“As a matter of fact, the workers should be in the forefront of activities in the realisation of the Whistle Blowing Policy of this Administration,” he said, emphasizing the need for support and cooperation, while adding that government was determined to restore growth, investment in people and also building a global competitive economy to its full realisation.

In the meantime, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on Monday, disagreed with two civil society organisations on workers’ demand for N56,000 minimum wage.

While the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders supported the workers’ call for the review of the minimum wage, MAN and the ACCI said the economy could not sustain N56,000 minimum wage.

This followed the disruption of the 2017 May Day rally at the Eagle Square in Abuja by angry workers over the failure of the Federal Government to approve a new Minimum Wage for workers in the country.

The workers insisted that the Federal Government had a responsibility to give them a definite position on the lingering issue of a new Minimum Wage in the country.

The aggrieved workers also faulted the absence of the President and his deputy from the event, where they expected either of the two to address them on the issues of survival affecting them.

The incensed workers rejected all pleas by their leaders as they chanted “no! We need a new Minimum Wage.”

They insisted that the N18,000 minimum wage has become inadequate to feed their families and indeed to survive in the face of the biting effects of the economic recession in the country.

Trouble started when the workers, who had gathered in front of the podium to listen to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, were told that the Acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Abiola Bawa, was to address them on his behalf.

This seemed to have angered the workers, who insisted that the minister should address them on the issue of the minimum wage while they would wait to see the representative of the President.

In another development, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State has assured the state’s civil servants that his government would immediately implement the proposed N56, 000 national minimum wage, if the federal government approves it.

Mr. Dankwambo gave the assurance at the commemoration of 2017 Workers’ Day in Gombe on Monday.

The governor was represented by his deputy, Charles Iliya, who is currently the acting governor.

“As soon as the Federal Government approves the new minimum wage, our administration will implement it within the limit of our resources,’’ he said.

He called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Nigerians to be resilient and support government efforts aimed at moving the country out of current economic recession.

“Our administration accords top priority to the welfare of civil servants whose selfless service contributed immensely to the socio-economy development of our dear state,’’ he said.

Earlier in his remarks, Aliyu Kamara, the state chairman, NLC, appealed to the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency approve the new minimum wage submitted by the technical committee.

He said that approval of the new minimum wage became necessary, considering the current economic recession and the attendant high cost of goods and services in the country.

Mr. Kamara also appealed to state government to consider all issues presented to it during the interactive session held between labour leaders and government.

He noted that this year theme entitled, “Labour Relations in Economic Recession an Appraisal’’ could not have come at a better time, considering the numerous challenges facing Nigerian workers.

Mr. Kamara, however, commended the state government for prompt payment of salaries and allowances of civil servants, employment and the release of N2 billion for the payment of gratuities to retirees.

Also in his remarks, Daniel Musa, the state’s head of service, called on workers to continue to support the government.

Mr. Musa assured the workers that with the authentic data of the civil servants, identification cards with pin number would soon be issued to civil servants.

He expressed optimism that the effort would improve the service and detect lazy workers.

Additional report from Punch

Economy

NGX Weekly: Cadbury Lists 402.1m Additional Shares, Investors Lose N54bn

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NGX Weekly: Cadbury Lists 402.1m Additional Shares, Investors Lose N54bn

 Additional 402,082,657 ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each per share of Cadbury Nigeria Plc (Cadbury) were listed on the Daily Official list of Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX) last week.

A weekly report of the NGX made available to newsmen in Lagos stated that the Cadbury additional shares were listed during the week.

The NGX explained that the additional shares listed on NGX arose from Cadbury’s conversion of N7,036,446,501.26 intercompany loan to equity.

“With this listing of the additional 402,082,657 ordinary shares, the total issued and fully paid up shares of Cadbury has now increased from 1,878,201,962 to 2,280,284,619

ordinary shares of 50 kobo each,” the regulator said.

Also in the course of the week under review, the NGX suspended trading in the shares of Arbico Plc on Friday.

The Exchange said the suspension was necessary to prevent trading in the shares of the company in preparation for the delisting of the securities of the company in line with the approval obtained from NGX.

Meanwhile, the April 2024 Issue of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Savings Bonds was listed on the NGX on Monday.

In the course of trading for the week, trade turnover settled 15.8 per cent lower than the previous session.

Specifically, investors traded a total of 1.652 billion shares worth N42.677 billion in 38,123 deals this week on the floor of the Exchange, in contrast to 2.187 billion shares valued at N50.667 billion that exchanged hands last week in 45,277 deals.

Consequently, the NGX All-Share Index which opened the week at 98,233.76 lost 0.11 per cent to close at 98,125.73.

The market capitalisation also depreciated by 0.10 per cent or N54 billion to close the week at N55.508 trillion, as against N55.562 trillion posted in the previous week.

Similarly, all other indices finished lower with the exception of NGX Main Board, NGX Lotus II, NGX Industrial Goods and NGX Pension Broad which appreciated by 0.97, 0.58, 0.01 and 0.12 per cent respectively, while the NGX ASeM and NGX Sovereign Bond indices closed flat.

Meanwhile, the Financial Services Industry measured by volume led the activity chart with 979.479

million shares valued at N16.647 billion traded in 20,708 deals.

This contributed 59.30 per cent

and 39.01 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.

The Conglomerates Industry followed with 239.825 million shares worth N2.879 billion in 2,178 deals.

The third place was the Consumer Goods Industry, with a turnover of 148.685 million shares worth N3.525 billion in 4,757 deals.

Trading in the top three equities namely Custodian Investment Plc, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc and Access Holdings Plc measured by volume accounted for 500.343 million

shares worth N11.768 billion in 6,551 deals.

This contributed 30.29 per cent and 27.57 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.

Also, 28 equities appreciated in price during the week lower than 40 equities in the previous week.

51 equities depreciated in price higher than 37 in the previous week, while 76 equities remained unchanged, lower than 77 recorded in the previous week.

On the losers’ table, PZ Cussons Nigeria led by 22.16 per cent to close at N21.60, NEM Insurance followed by 18.36 per cent to close at N8.45 per cent per share.

Eterna Plc lost 18.32 per cent to close at N11.15, United Bank of Africa(UBA) shed 17.23 per cent to close at N21.85 and The Initiates Plc dropped N15.22 per cent to close at N1.95 per share.

Conversely, International Energy Insurance led the gainers table by 11.49 per cent to close at N1.65, McNichols Plc trailed by 9.89 per cent to close at one Naira per share.

Custodian Investment Plc rose by 9.68 per cent to close at N10.20, Julius Berger advanced by 9.53 per cent to close at N79.30, while Airtel Africa Plc gained 8.97 per cent to close at N2,150 per share.

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FAAC: FG, States, LGs Share N1.208trn Revenue For April

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FAAC: FG, States, LGs Share N1.208trn Revenue For April

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), has shared the sum of N1.208 trillion as revenue for April among the Federal Government, states and Local Government Councils (LGCs).

The revenue was shared on Thursday at the May meeting of FAAC in Abuja.

A communiqué issued by the committee said that the N1.208 trillion total distributable revenue comprised statutory revenue of N284.716 billion, and Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N466.457 billion.

It also comprised Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N18.024 billion, and Exchange Difference revenue of N438.884 billion.

The communique said the total revenue of N2.192 billion was available in April.

“Total deduction for cost of collection is N80.517 billion; total transfers, interventions and refunds is N903.479 billion.

The communique said the Gross statutory revenue of N1.233 billion was received for the month under review. This was higher than the sum of N1.017 billion received in March by N216.282 billion,” it said.

It said that the gross revenue available from VAT in April was N500.920 billion, which is lower than the N549.698 billion available in March by N48.778 billion.

The communiqué said that from the N1.208 trillion total distributable revenue, the Federal Government received N390.412 billion, the state governments received N403.403 billion and the LGCs received N293.816 billion.

“A total sum of N120.450 billion (13 per cent of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting states as derivation revenue,” it said.

It said that on the N284.716 billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N112.148 billion, the state governments received N56.883 billion and the LGCs received N43.855 billion.

It said that the sum of N71.830 billion (13 per cent of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting states as derivation revenue.

“The Federal Government received N69.969 billion, the state governments received N233.229 billion and the LGCs received N163.260 billion from the N466.457 billion distributable VAT revenue.

“A total sum of N2.704 billion was received by the Federal Government from the N18.024 billion EMTL, the state governments received N9.012 billion and the LGCs received N6.308 billion.

“The Federal Government received N205.591 billion from the N438.884 billion Exchange Difference revenue; the state governments received N104.279 billion, and the LGCs received N80.394 billion.

“The sum of N48.620 billion (13 per cent of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting states as derivation revenue,” it said.

According to the communiqué, Oil and Gas Royalties, Companies Income Tax (CIT), Excise Duty, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), EMTL and CET Levies increased significantly.

It, however, said that Import Duty and VAT recorded considerable decreases.

“The balance in the ECA was 473.754 million dollars.

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Extension Of Nigeria’s Continental Shelf As Lesson On Continuity

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Extension Of Nigeria’s Continental Shelf As Lesson On Continuity

On May 14, the High Powered-Presidential Committee on Nigeria’s Extended Continental Shelf Project was in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The committee came to brief President Bola Tinubu on recommendations given to Nigeria regarding its submission for an extended continental shelf by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

The briefing was led by veteran diplomat, Amb. Hassan Tukur, the Chairman of the committee.

The update with the president featured technical presentations by Prof. Larry Awosika, a renowned marine scientist and Mr Aliyu Omar, Member/Secretary of the Committee and former staff of the National Boundary Commission (NBC).

Omar also served as the Desk Officer for the project office in New York for several years.

Worthy of note, Nigeria’s request to have it continental shelf extended was approved by the CLCS in August 2023.

The project, which aims to extend Nigeria’s maritime boundaries under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), has granted Nigeria sovereignty over an additional 16,300 square kilometres of maritime territory.

This is roughly five times the size of Lagos State.

The CLCS is mandated to, inter alia, consider the data and information submitted and provide recommendations on the outer limits submitted by the coastal state.

Article 76 of UNCLOS (1982) allows a qualifying coastal state to extend its continental shelf up to a maximum of 350M (350 nautical miles) or 150m nautical miles beyond its traditional Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical miles.

Extension Of Nigeria’s Continental Shelf As Lesson On Continuity
President Bola Tinubu receiving Nigeria’s CLCS report from the committee

The continental shelf is the natural submerged prolongation of its land territory.

The journey to extend Nigeria’s continental shelf project began in 2009 with the country’s submission to the CLCS.

The project faced delays due to a lack of funds and administrative challenges; in 2013 the Senate of the Federal Republic in its resolution of Feb. 14, 2013, urged the Federal Government to fund the project and set up an independent body to handle it.

However, it was only in November 2015 that the then President Muhammadu Buhari revitalised it.

Subsequently, he appointed the High-Powered Presidential Committee (HPPC), headed by the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Malam Abubakar Malami, to oversee the project.

The HPPC operated as an independent technical body, effectively managing the project by cutting down on government bureaucracy.

Omar had led the Nigerian Technical Team through the question-and-answer sessions with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

He was also the Member/Secretary of the HPPC with a strong institutional memory of the project, highlighted this during the committee’s briefing to President Tinubu on May 14.

Omar said that when the HPPC briefed Buhari in 2022 on the status of the project, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) was still considering Nigeria’s submission and having technical interactions with the HPPC.

”These interactions and consideration have now culminated in the approval for Nigeria to extend its continental shelf beyond 200M (200 nautical miles).

”As it stands now, the area approved for Nigeria is about 16,300 square kilometres, which is about five times the size of Lagos State”, he said.

Nigeria’s extended continental shelf is in an area that is referred to as the ‘Golden Triangle of the Gulf of Guinea’ due to its abundance of natural resources such as hydrocarbons, natural gas, and a variety of solid minerals.

Awosika, a pioneer member and former Chairman of the CLCS, explained that the technical team’s work involved lengthy processes.

He said it also required highly technical steps in the acquisition, processing and analysis of extensive marine scientific data offshore Nigeria’s margin for the submission to the UN CLCS.

He said that the Nigerian team had to defend the submission with the CLCS which involved highly technical question-and-answer sessions and provision of additional data and information.

Receiving the report, Tinubu commended the members of the technical team for working tirelessly.

He applauded their high technical and scientific expertise and solidarity to national cause throughout the eight years of service to the nation before an agreement was finally reached with the UN CLCS in August 2023.

It is instructive to note that Tinubu highlighted the interactions he had with his predecessor, Buhari, on the project; given that it was he, Buhari, who set up the HPPC to oversee the project in 2015.

Tinubu recounted how Buhari briefed him on the importance of the project.

”This is a big congratulations for Nigeria. I commend the team and we must take advantage of this and invite you again to have a repeat of this knowledge exploration on geography, hydrography and marine life.

”Nigeria is grateful for the efforts that you put into gaining additional territory for the country without going to war; some nations went to war; and lost people and economic opportunities.

”We lost nothing but have gained great benefits for Nigeria; we will pursue the best option for the country,” Tinubu said.

Tinubu has also promised to ‘pursue the best option for the country’ on the project, even though the CLCS recommendations fall short of Nigeria’s submitted claim.

Perceptive observers say the achievement is a lesson on the importance of continuity in government projects. Abandoning projects due to changes in administration can lead to wasted resources and lost opportunities.

The extended continental shelf is a significant achievement of Tinubu’s administration and to Nigeria.

According to experts, this is something that has never happened in the nation’s history, and may never happen again.

By learning from the ECS project, Nigeria can improve its approach to governance and project management, ensuring that with perseverance and continuity strategic initiatives are completed despite challenges.

The ECS project, initiated in 2009, faced delays and funding issues but persistence through the efforts of the immediate past administration paid off, and was finally approved by the UN in August 2023, shortly after Tinubu assumed office.

The country has taken note of articles 7 and 8 in Annex II to the Convention on the Law of the Sea concerning recommendations received from the CLCS.

The project also demonstrates the importance of long-term thinking in governance.

Discerning stakeholders hold that while the project’s benefits may not be immediate, it will surely have a significant impact on Nigeria’s economy and maritime boundaries in the future.

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