Buhari Congratulates Babalola at 91 – Newstrends
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Buhari Congratulates Babalola at 91

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 President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Chief Afe Babalola, on his 91st birthday.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement issued Thursday, said the President saluted the educationist for his high sense of patriotism, visionary leadership and penchant for always channelling his energy and resources into projects that directly impact the life of Nigerians, and providing wise counsels to leaders in both the private and public sectors on best ways to move the country forward.

“President Buhari congratulates Aare Babalola for another year added to his life, and more opportunities to give and show that sharing brings more joy than acquisition, while commending his antecedents in health, education and legal career, training more than 2,500 lawyers in the country, with 15 already recognised as Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

“As the renowned lawyer and philanthropist turns 91, President Buhari prays that the almighty God will bless him and his family, and grant him longer life to keep serving the nation and humanity,” the statement said.

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NLC Protest: ‘Go to work unfailingly ‘ — TUC tells members, affiliates in 36 states, FCT

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NLC president Joe Ajaero, President Bola Tinubu and TUC president Festus Osifo

NLC Protest: ‘Go to work unfailingly ‘ — TUC tells members, affiliates in 36 states, FCT

On Monday night, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) issued a memo instructing its members and affiliates in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to report to work as usual on February 27 and 28, 2024.

“I write to direct all affiliates and the thirty-six state Councils and FCT of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria to ensure they go to work unfailingly on these dates,” stated TUC President Festus Osifo in the internal memo. “we expect your compliance.”

The NLC, through the protests, aim to express dissatisfaction with the worsening economic situation and the rising cost of living in Nigeria.

The union rejected a last-minute attempt by the Federal Government, led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation George Akume, to prevent the protests. Akume met with the NLC, TUC, and other labor leaders on Monday night.

While the TUC won’t join the NLC protests, Osifo emphasised the urgent need to expedite discussions on enacting the new national minimum wage into law. He addressed a press conference in Abuja on Monday, highlighting the growing hunger and hardship faced by Nigerian workers and citizens.

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Osifo argued that the government and private sector’s prompt passage and faithful implementation of the new minimum wage would enhance workers’ disposable income and purchasing power. He added that the TUC has been investigating the root causes of the country’s economic problems and potential solutions over the past few weeks.

Uncontrolled Naira devaluation and widespread insecurity were identified by Osifo as the primary causes of the economic difficulties. He outlined the TUC’s proposed short, medium, and long-term solutions, which include: fixing the real value of the Naira, deliberate steps to address the allegation that sub-national governments throw billions of dollars monthly into the parallel market and dollarisation of political party primaries and electioneering.

The solutions also included the clampdown on speculative trading in the foreign exchange market, patronising made-in-Nigeria goods, strengthening the economic management team and curbing crude oil theft, among others.

NLC Protest: ‘Go to work unfailingly ‘ — TUC tells members, affiliates in 36 states, FCT

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Lawmakers’ salaries too small for job responsibilities -Deputy Speaker

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Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu

Lawmakers’ salaries too small for job responsibilities -Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, on Monday said the current salaries of federal lawmakers cannot take them home to do the jobs they were elected to do.

While stressing that the take home pay of the average lawmaker is a ‘far cry’ from what people insinuate, Kalu called for understanding, saying the call for the slashing of their salary by 50 per cent is not the solution to the current problem.

The deputy speaker spoke when he featured on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ on Monday.

Kalu said, “At the moment, talking about the salary of the National Assembly. I have said this over and again, it is not as much as people think. Salary is different from allowance, which is meant to do the jobs our constituents have sent us to do.

“Nobody is allowed to touch allowances. It is the salary that belongs to you. Allowances have no subheadings for which they are made for. If you use it wrongly, when you are retiring it, you will be sanctioned for that.

“So talking about the salaries of the National Assembly, it is a far cry from what is supposed to be. And I can assure you that even if we reduce it by 50 per cent or 80 per cent, it will not really impact what the Nigerian lawmakers should be earning, which does not go in tandem with the economic situation of the country.

“I can assure you that based on economic indices at the moment, inflation rate and the rest of them, the amount members of the National Assembly receive cannot actually take them home to do their their jobs in their various constituencies.

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“Considering the cost of transport, running constituency offices and the number of maintaining aides who are supposed to have you achieve what the mandate of that office demands, it is not a discussion that will add value to the crisis we are faced with.

“But I can assure you they will be willing to adjust. If that is what will move Nigeria to the next level, why not? After all, we did not send ourselves there. We were voted in by the constituents.”

The Abia politician also praised President Bola Tinubu for having the courage to order the full implementation of the 2012 recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye panel.

Tinubu had directed that a committee be constituted to implement the mergers, scrapping and relocations of the 541 parastatals, commissions, and agencies owned by the Federal Government within 12 weeks.

“Like you rightly pointed out, you mentioned cutting cost of governance. This shows that when you look at the President’s body language and determination, he is intentional about reducing the cost of running the government. If he’s not, he will not be looking for that document.

“I want to thank him for (that) because some of the issues mentioned in that report, we are going to use them as source materials for the work we are doing on Constitution review. And we’re happy that Mr President is forward thinking for him to embrace that report. He means well for Nigeria, especially during this period when we are facing a lot of challenges. In reducing the cost of running government, the need for it cannot be overemphasised,” he stated.

Lawmakers’ salaries too small for job responsibilities -Deputy Speaker

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Tinubu orders creation of youth unemployment benefits

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Tinubu orders creation of youth unemployment benefits

President Bola Tinubu has approved the establishment of a Social Security Unemployment Programme, which will pay unemployed Nigerian youngsters to alleviate economic suffering.

Mr. Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, said this while addressing reporters at the State House yesterday in Abuja, following the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Tinubu.

He said: “At this period of heightened food prices, Mr. President has committed to doing all that can be done to assist in giving purchasing power to the poorest. In that line, he has committed and instructed that the Social Security Unemployment Programme be devised, particularly to cater for the youth, for unemployed graduates, as well as the society as a whole. So, we have coming, in the nearest future, an unemployment benefit for the young unemployed, in particular.”

The minister also said there were plans for setting up of a Consumer Credit Scheme to alleviate the pains of economic adjustment.

“Finally, in the same line to emphasise that there is empathy… There is a feeling for those who are less well off or a feeling, particularly the pains of this adjustment, there is coming a social consumer credit programme.

“So, by making consumer credit available, of course, goods become more affordable, the economy even gets a chance to revive faster because people have the purchasing power that allows them to order for goods, products,” he said.

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Edun also spoke on the review carried out by a special presidential panel on the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), which has submitted a preliminary report to the president.

On various social investment programmes, the minister said what was done was “a review of existing mechanisms, a review of existing programmes, and where there have been successes, such as the 400,000 beneficiaries of the GEEP programme, and so on and so forth”.

He said: “Those have been identified and recognised. The School Feeding programme is another example of relative success. Whilst there is still some further work to be done, particularly as regards availability of the financial data, which is still being looked at, the interim report has been submitted and a key recommendation of the panel was that, especially given the heightened, limited household purchasing power at this time, rising prices, particularly elevated food prices, it’s important to restart the programme.

“The direct payment to 12 million households, comprising 60 million Nigerians, is to resume immediately with the important proviso that every beneficiary will be identified by their National Identity Number (NIN) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN)…”

“Therefore, payments will be made into bank accounts or mobile money wallets so that whether it is before or after, there is verification of the identity of beneficiaries.”

“Each person that receives N25,000 for a total of three months will be identifiable, even after they have received the money. It will be clear who it went to and when it went to them. That is the big change that has allowed Mr. President to approve the restart of direct payments to beneficiaries programme,” Edun said.

Tinubu orders creation of youth unemployment benefits

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