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Sanwo-Olu moves to stop Tinubu, other ex-govs, deputies’ pensions

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Former governors and deputies including Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode, may no longer enjoy pensions if plans to repeal the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007) sail through.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, gave the hint on Tuesday when he announced his intention to repeal the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former elected governors and their deputies.

The governor made this known on Tuesday while presenting the 2021 budget to the Lagos State House of Assembly.

He said the bill for that purpose would be sent to the state assembly.

“Mr. Speaker and Honourable members of the house, in the light of keeping the costs of governance low and to signal selflessness in public service, we will be sending a draft executive bill to the House imminently for the repeal of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former governors and their deputies,” Sanwo-Olu said.

According to the Lagos Pension Law approved by former Governor Bola Tinubu in 2007, a former governor will enjoy the following benefits for life: Two houses, one in Lagos and another in Abuja; even as property experts estimate such a house in Lagos to cost about N500 million and that in Abuja to cost about N700 million.

Other entitlements include: Six brand new cars, replaceable every three years; furniture allowance of 300 per cent of annual salary to be paid every two years; and a pension of N2.5 million monthly amounting to about N30 million pension annually.

The former governor will also enjoy security details, free medicals including for his immediate families.

Other benefits are house maintenance worth 10 per cent of his annual pension; 30 per cent car maintenance; 10 per cent entertainment; 20 per cent utility, and several domestic staff.

Should the new arrangement succeed in Lagos, it would only be following a similar step taken by the Kwara State in 2018 when the state House of Assembly passed an amendment bill halting payment of pensions to former governors, deputy governors, and other political office holders after their tenure.

Former governors and their deputies from almost in all the 36 states of the federation enjoy similar jumbo pay.

A recent report by Blueprint newspaper catalogues a number of states where such largesse in the name of pensions for political office holders after leaving office is ‘legitimised’.

For instance, the report states in Rivers State, the law provides 100 per cent of annual basic salary for ex-governor and deputy; one residential house for former governor to be located anywhere of his choice in Nigeria; one residential house anywhere in Rivers state for the deputy; three cars for the ex-governor every four years; and two cars for the deputy every four years.

Furniture allowance for the governor is 300 per cent of annual basic salary every four years en bloc; as well as 10 per cent as house maintenance allowance.

In Akwa Ibom, the law provides for N200 million annual pension to ex governors and deputies. They enjoy a pension, for life, equivalent to the salary of the incumbent governor and deputy governor respectively.

Similarly, they are entitled to new official car and utility vehicle every four years; one personal aide and provision of adequate security; a cook; chauffeurs and security guards for the governor at a sum not exceeding N5 million per month and N2.5 million for the deputy governor.

There is also free medical service for governor and his spouse at an amount not exceeding N100 million for the governor per annum and N50 million for the deputy governor.

Also, there is a five-bedroom mansion in Abuja and Akwa Ibom and allowance of 300 per cent of annual basic salary for the deputy governor.

The ex-governor also takes a furniture allowance of 300 per cent of annual basic salary every four years in addition to severance gratuity.

The Kano State Pension Rights of Governor and Deputy Governor Law 2007 provides for 100 per cent of annual basic salaries for former governors and their deputies, with a furnished office as well as a six-bedroom house, ‘well-furnished’ four-bedroom for deputy, plus an office.

The former governor is also entitled to free medical service along with his immediate families within and outside Nigeria where necessary. It is same for deputy.

Two drivers are also part of the former governor’s entitlement and a driver for his deputy; and personal staff below the rank of a Principal Administrative Officer and a PA not below grade level 10. There is a provision for a 30-day vacation within and outside Nigeria.

In Gombe, there is N300 million executive pension benefits for the ex-governor.

The Zamfara version of the law, signed in 2006, gives former governors pension for life; two personal staff; two vehicles replaceable every four years; two drivers; free medicals for the former governors and deputies as well as their immediate families in Nigeria or abroad.

The law also gives the former governors a four-bedroom house in Zamfara and an office, free telephone and 30 days paid vacation outside Nigeria.

In Sokoto, former governors and deputy governors are to receive N200 million and N180 million respectively, being monetisation for other entitlements which include domestic aides; residence and vehicles; that could be renewed after every four years.

Section 2 (2) of the Sokoto State Grant of Pension, Governor and Deputy Governor, Law, 2013, states that “the total annual pension to be paid to the governor and deputy governor, shall be at a rate equivalent to the annual total salary of the incumbent governor or deputy governor of the state respectively.”

Railway

Police still on trail of Warri-Itakpe rail track vandals – NRC

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• Says vandals risk life imprisonment
Vandals of a section of the newly inaugurated Warri-Itakpe rail track have not been arrested, contrary to an earlier report, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has said.
Coordinator of the new rail line operation, Abdulganniyu Saani, an engineer, who stated this, also dismissed the viral video of the arrest of five suspects with a vehicle load of rail track sleepers, saying it was an old clip of an incident around Jos, Plateau State taken some years back.
He also said the latest cutting of Warri-Itakpe track material was not on the main lane but an extra lane, which had not disrupted the running of freight and passenger trains.
Saani spoke in an interview with NewsTrends on the telephone, warning that vandals would be treated as manslaughter suspects with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment upon conviction because their activities could lead to fatal railway accidents.
He also said that a number of traps had been laid for the arrest of the vandals still on the run and other hoodlums that might be contemplating of vandalizing or stealing railway materials.
“The police in Kogi State where the incident had happened are on the red alert. They are working with other security agencies to apprehend the vandals and anybody who dares tamper with railway materials.
Details later…

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Aviation workers threaten one-week shutdown of Kaduna airport from Sunday

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Aviation workers have threatened to withdraw their services at the Kaduna airport from Sunday, May 16 to Friday, May 21.
The workers in a statement on Saturday said their action was in support of the Kaduna State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over “anti-labour practices perpetrated against public servants in Kaduna State”
The statement was jointly signed by Ocheme Aba, general secretary of the National Union Of Air Transport Employees (NUATE); Rasaq Saidu, general secretary of the Association Of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANANP); and Umoh Ofonime, deputy general secretary of the National Association Of Aircraft Pilots And Engineers (NAAPE).
NLC had said that over 20,000 state workers had not received their April salaries, adding that due process was not followed in the recent disengagement of over 4,000 workers from the local government service, state universal basic education board and primary healthcare agency.
The statement read in part, “As you are all aware, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has declared strike action against the Kaduna State Government over numerous anti-labour practices perpetrated against the public servants of Kaduna state.
“Our unions, being affiliates of the NLC, are part of the decision and are in support of the action against the Kaduna State Government In this regard, our participation on the planned shutdown of Kaduna State is hereby affirmed.
“Accordingly, all aviation workers at the Kaduna Airport are hereby directed to withdraw all services at the airport with effect from midnight of Sunday the 16th of May 2021 to midnight of Friday the 21st of May 2021.
“The effect shall be the total grounding of operations of the Airport within the stipulated period. By this notice, members of the public are advised to make alternative travel plans within the period.”

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Remittances to Nigeria drop by 28% – World Bank

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Remittance inflow to Nigeria dropped by 28 per cent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank has said.
The bank added that remittance flows fell for sub-Saharan Africa by 12.5 per cent, according to its Migration and Development Brief 33 Phase 11 entitled: “COVID-19 Crisis Through a Migration Lens’’ published on Thursday.
The report said the decline in remittance flows to Nigeria was largely responsible for the fall in remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa.
“The decline in flows to sub-Saharan Africa was almost entirely due to a 28 per cent decline in remittance flows to Nigeria.
“Excluding flows to Nigeria, remittances to sub-Saharan Africa increased by 2.3 per cent, demonstrating resilience,’’ the report stated.
According to the report, the relatively strong performance of remittance flows during the COVID-19 crisis has also highlighted the importance of timely availability of data.
It stated that given its growing significance as a source of external financing for low and middle-income countries, there was need for better collection of data on remittances.
It emphasised that there was need for better collection of data on remittances, in terms of frequency, timely reporting, and granularity by corridor and channel.
With global growth expected to rebound further in 2021 and 2022, remittance flows to low and middle- income countries are expected to increase by 2.6 per cent to $553bn in 2021 and by 2.2 per cent to $565bn in 2022.
The report stated that global average cost of sending $200 remained high at 6.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, more than double the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of three per cent.
It stated that sub-Saharan Africa continued to have the highest average cost (8.2 per cent) adding that supporting the remittance infrastructure and keeping remittances flowing includes efforts to lower fees.
The true size of remittances, which includes formal and informal flows, is believed to be larger than officially reported data, though the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on informal flows is unclear.
“As COVID-19 still devastates families around the world, remittances continue to provide a critical lifeline for the poor and vulnerable,” said Michal Rutkowski, Global Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank.
“Supportive policy responses, together with national social protection systems, should continue to be inclusive of all communities, including migrants,” he said.

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