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Minimum wage negotiation: FG asks labour to avert mass sacking

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Minimum wage negotiation: FG asks labour to avert mass sacking

The Federal Government has urged the labour unions to negotiate a new minimum wage that would not lead to mass retrenchment of workers, or jeopardise the welfare of about 200 million Nigerians

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, while speaking at the opening of the 2024 Synod of the Charismatic Bishops Conference of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday, noted that the ₦250,000 minimum wage demanded by labour, could undermine the economy.

However, the labour unions refuted President Bola Tinubu’s claims during his Democracy Day broadcast on Wednesday that an agreement had been reached on the new national minimum wage.

Acting President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Prince Adewale Adeyanju,  while attending an International Labour Organisation conference in Geneva, Switzerland, said as of the time negotiations ended on June 7,  no agreement had been reached by the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage.

“The NLC would have expected that the advisers of the President would have told him that we neither reached any agreement with the federal government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage nor on its other components,” the NLC said in a statement by Adewale Adeyanju standing in for Joe Ajaero who is in Geneva, Switzerland, for the ILO Conference.

“Our demand still remains ₦250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand Naira) only and we have not been given any compelling reasons to change this position which we consider a great concession by Nigerian workers during the tripartite negotiation process.”

The NLC said it had not reached any agreement with the Federal Government on a new minimum wage.

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“There was none and it is important that we let the President, Nigerians, and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix-up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage. We have also not seen a copy of the document submitted to him and will not accept any doctored document.”

The NLC maintained its stance on not accepting “any national minimum wage figure that approximates to a starvation wage”.

“We cannot be working and yet remain in abject poverty. We seek justice, equity, and fairness for all Nigerians and this we hope would also drive the actions of Mr. President who promised a Living Wage to Nigerian workers. This is an opportunity to show that he listens to Nigerians as he promised!” NLC’s statement read.

But speaking at the opening of the 2024 Synod of the Charismatic Bishops Conference of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday, the information Minister emphasised the imperative of a realistic wage system that safeguards against mass retrenchment while addressing workers’ needs.

Idris restated the government’s dedication to reassessing the minimum wage but cautioned against demands that could disrupt the economy.

He stated: “As I have repeatedly said, the Federal Government is not opposed to the increase of wages for Nigerian workers but we keep on advocating for a realistic and sustainable wage system for the workers – a wage system that will not undermine the economy, lead to mass retrenchment of workers and jeopardise the welfare of about 200 million Nigerians.

“We want the labour unions to understand that the relief that Nigerians are expecting, and that they fully deserve, will not come only in the form of an increase in wages.”

“It will also come as efforts to reduce the cost of living and to ensure that more money stays in the pockets of Nigerians. And this is where programs like the Presidential CNG initiative come in. That program alone, by replacing or complementing petrol usage with CNG, will cut transportation costs by as much as 50 per cent.”

Minimum wage negotiation: FG asks labour to avert mass sacking

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NASS members victimising me for not signing dubious loan – Minister

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Minister for Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye

NASS members victimising me for not signing dubious loan – Minister

Embattled Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, claims she is being targeted by government cabals for refusing to sign a $500 million World Bank loan request.

In a phone interview with THISDAY, Kennedy-Ohanenye asserted that her refusal to sign the loan, which included an earlier $100 million case, has led to significant pressure and threats against her.

Kennedy-Ohanenye revealed that World Bank staff in Nigeria allegedly take back 40 percent of such loans as consultation fees. She stated, “All the loans they collect, including World Bank loans, are you aware that the same World Bank staff in Nigeria takes back 40 percent and calls it consultation fees? These are things you people should look into. You people should focus on where the problem is and let them leave me alone.”

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She emphasized that her life is now at risk due to her stance on the loan, mentioning the potential personal financial gain she turned down. “If I sign that loan today, I am entitled to five percent of the money, but I refused to sign it. It is part of why the National Assembly and all of them are after me.”

The minister highlighted the alleged misuse of the loan, suggesting the funds could be better utilized directly to support women rather than on consultations. She questioned the necessity of spending $100 million on teaching women how to save money, arguing for a more direct allocation to the women in need.

This controversy follows a tense interaction on July 10, 2024, between Kennedy-Ohanenye and the House of Representatives Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development over the alleged diversion of N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

NASS members victimising me for not signing dubious loan – Minister

(DailyTrust)

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Reps probe missing crude, contaminated fuel

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Reps probe missing crude, contaminated fuel

The Joint Committee of the House of Representatives, which is conducting a forensic inquiry into the difficulties facing the downstream and midstream petroleum industries, has begun looking into claims of the importation of contaminated Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as fuel, into the country. 

The committee’s chairman, Ikenga Ugochinyere, announced this at the panel’s formal inauguration in Abuja on Monday.

The investigation team will also examine reports of crude oil theft at local refineries, distribution disruptions, and favouritism in the pro forma invoice regime, among other issues.

Briefing reporters at the event, Ugochinyere said, “The committee will conduct a legislative forensic investigation into the presence of middlemen in crude trading, the indiscriminate issuance of licenses, and the alleged unavailability of international standard laboratories to check adulterated products.”

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He mentioned that the panel would also probe the possible influx of contaminated products into the country and “the allegation of non-domestication of profits realised from crude marketing sales in local banks, abuse of the PFI regime, and importation of products already being produced in Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, the panel plans to visit petrol stations around the country to collect samples of their products for laboratory testing to ensure their purity.

The mandate of the joint committee follows the approval of a motion on July 9, 2024, on the “urgent need to carry out a legislative forensic investigation into the challenges affecting the downstream and midstream petroleum sectors in Nigeria and other related matters to find out a lasting solution to all challenges” affecting the petroleum industry.

Reps probe missing crude, contaminated fuel

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Hardship: FCT police begs residents not to join protest

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FCT Police Commissioner, Benneth Igweh

Hardship: FCT police begs residents not to join protest

As the date for proposed protest against economic hardship in the country by unnamed groups draw near, the Commissioner of Police, FCT, CP Benneth Igweh has appealed to residents of Abuja not to join the protest so as to prevent the destruction of new infrastructure recently put in place by the FCT administration and President Bola Tinubu.

This is just as the CP paraded the mastermind of the armed robbery gang that killed retired Brigadier General Uwen Harold Udokwerre in Abuja on June 22, 2024

Speaking on the proposed strike, Igweh said, “Lions do not destroy their den. We have toiled so much to ensure and provide security for the FCT. In the cause of this, we have gone to Kaduna, we have gone to Kogi, we have gone to Nasarawa to fish our criminals who came to disturb the peace of Abuja.

“In this process, we have lost officers. Last week we lost two officers, the previous week, we lost one officer over efforts at providing security and safeguarding residents. We dont want to lose any more person.

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“So please dont allow the destruction of what the minister, what Mr President is doing. We have been in this FCT, we know when there is changes, roads, infrastructure. I am pleading with residents, do not join this protest

“We don’t want miscreants to come from outside the FCT to come and start destroying them. We will go back to square one where we were before. I plead, I beg of you, do not join this protest.

“Let us continue collectively to make FCT safe. Let them go and do what they want to do. But not with us. Act maturely. Act maturely. Act like people who appreciate. Even the loss we have been losing to ensure your safety. Use it to appreciate us. If you give it to us, we will be very happy. We will continue to provide security for you.

On the arrest in the mastermind, CP Igweh said, “Last time, I did show you the four killers, kidnappers, and robbers that went and killed Brigadier General Uwem Harold Udokwerre retired. Today, I will show you the organizer of the killing and the robbery.

“We have also recovered the general’s gun that was with him. We have recovered the wristwatch of the general and the wife’s jewelry which they all robbed from the general’s house.

“The organizer is here and we have arrested him. He is Alhaji Ashiru. He has had been arrested before for crime and jailed in prison and escaped during the jail break.

Hardship: FCT police begs residents not to join protest

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