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NIMC workers embark on strike, allege exposure to COVID-19

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Registration of National Identity Number has been put on hold as workers of the National Identity Management Commission embark on indefinite strike over what they call undue exposure to coronavirus and sundry welfare issues.

The notice for the strike action is contained in a statement signed by President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NIMC branch, Lucky Michael, and its Secretary, Odia Victor.

The notice was issued after a meeting convened on Wednesday January 6 by the association to discuss the state of the exposure of staff members to COVID-19 and the salary structure and its representation in the annual appropriation and irregularities in the conduct of promotion exercise amongst other welfare matters.

The workers also decided to go on strike to demand for better welfare package from the government, more allowances for the registration of NIN, which they viewed as an extra duty.

They decried the lack of protective kits at their offices, which left them exposed to contracting the coronavirus disease while attending to a huge crowd of applicants daily.

The association’s statement read in part, “Consequent upon the congress of the above-mentioned association that took place on January 6, 2020, the unit executive directs all members of grade level 12 and below in the head office and state offices to report to their respective duty posts tomorrow January 7, 2020, and do nothing.

“All members at the local government offices and special centres are advised to stay away from their various centres as a task force and implementation committee would be on parade to ensure total compliance to the directive.”

Some of the workers who spoke on the strike on condition of anonymity accused the government of toying with their safety.

They expressed concern over lack of personal protective equipment at the office as they noted that they could get infected with COVID-19 while attending to thousands of residents daily.

Railway

Just in: Nigerian railway suspends Abuja-Kaduna train services over safety

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The Nigeria Railway Corporation has announced the suspension of train services on the Abuja-Kaduna route.

It said on Thursday that the decision was taken for safety purposes after a section of the rail track was vandalised on Wednesday night.

Some Kaduna-bound passengers were reportedly forced to return to Abuja following the damage to the track.

An ex-senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, had tweeted on Thursday that there was a bandit attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train he was travelling in and had a miraculous escape with other passengers.

But the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Mr Fidet Okhiria, said it was an attack by vandals on the rail track.

The corporation said in a statement on its website on Thursday that train services had been suspended on Abuja-Kaduna route for the safety of passengers and crew members.

It added that efforts were being put in place to ensure maximum safety along the route.

It also further information about the suspension would be conveyed to the public later.

Daily Trust reported that hundreds of passengers were stranded at Rigasa Railway Station in Kaduna on Thursday morning.

The report stated that most of the passengers that booked ‎their train tickets online later resorted to travelling by road.

An NRC official at the station told the passengers that there was a problem with the train and so there would be no train.

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CBN introduces N500m entrepreneurship grants for graduates, undergraduates

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says it will support youths in tertiary institutions with grants to promote entrepreneurship and reduce unemployment and reduce the trend of graduates seeking white-collar jobs but turn their attention to the creation of jobs.

It said the initiative called Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme, would be executed in partnership with Nigerian polytechnics and universities to harness the potential of graduate entrepreneurs (gradpreneurs).

It stated this in a circular, titled ‘Guidelines for the implementation of tertiary institutions entrepreneurship scheme’, dated October 2021.

The apex bank stated that the goal of the TIES was to enhance access to finance to undergraduates and graduates of polytechnics and universities in Nigeria with innovative entrepreneurial and technological ideas.

The CBN stated, “The scheme is designed to create a paradigm shift among undergraduates and graduates from the pursuit of white-collar jobs to a culture of entrepreneurship development for economic development and job creation.”

The CBN said it would distribute N500 million among the top five tertiary institutions with the best pitch.

“Five top Nigerian polytechnics and universities with the best entrepreneurial pitches/ideas shall be awarded as follows: first place – N150m; second place – N120m; third place – N100m; fourth place – N80m; and fifth place – N50m,” it stated.

The apex bank stated that it ”shall constitute a Body of Experts (BoE) from the private and public sector for the biennial regional and national entrepreneurship competitions to evaluate entrepreneurial and technological innovations submitted by Nigerian polytechnics and universities. The Body of Experts (BoE) shall recommend projects with high potential and transformational impact for the grant award.”

It gave the key highlights of the scheme as projects financed under the Scheme shall be monitored by independent monitors jointly engaged by the CBN and PFI; would be operated for 10 years in the first instance (not exceeding 31st December 2031) depending on the complexity of the project; interest payment and principal repayment should be made on a monthly or quarterly basis by the obligor depending on the established cash flow cycle and in line with the approved repayment schedule.

 

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As cooking gas price rises further, kerosene, diesel drop

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As prices of cooking gas otherwise known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) across Nigeria continue to rise despite significant increase in local production of the product, the average pump price of National Household Kerosene (NHK) has dropped to N400.01 per litre, representing a 7.9 per cent decline compared to N434.39 per litre in September this year.

Prices of Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) also fell by 0.16 per cent this week to N254.21 from N254.64 as of September ending 2021.

According to the latest report on the LPG by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the product supplied in September 2021 increased to 49,453.081 metric tonnes, MT, shows an increase of 23 per cent when compared to 38,040.457MT recorded in August 2021.

A survey by newstrends shows that 12.5 kilogramme of cooking gas, which was sold at N4,000 in January 2021, rose to N7,200 in August 2021 and currently N7,700.

On kerosene, latest data from globalpetrolprices.com indicated that as of this week, the price per gallon of kerosene stood at N1,514.20 while price per gallon of  diesel stood at N962.29.

When compared to statistics from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) the kerosene and diesel watch for September, prices paid per gallon of the NKH fell by 1.73 per cent.

The NBS September report, “Average price per liter paid by consumers for National Household Kerosene increased by 8.6 per cent month-on-month and by 24.8 per cent year-on-year (YoY)  to N434.39 in September 2021 from N400.01 in August 2021.

“Similarly, average price per gallon paid by consumers for National Household Kerosene increased by 16.25 per cent MoM and by 25.3 YoY to N1, 540.82 in September 2021 from N1, 325.39 in August 2021.

“States with the highest average price per gallon of kerosene were Abuja (N2, 766.67), Bauchi (N1, 981.54) and Adamawa (N1,975.00).

“States with the lowest average price per gallon of kerosene were Delta (N1218.13), Imo (N1991.23) and Yobe (N1,080.00).”

On diesel, the NBS said, “Average price paid by consumers for Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) increased by 0.17 per cent MoM and by 15.9 per cent YoY   to N254.64 in September 2021 from N254.21 in August 2021.”

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