NLC threatens protest over governors planned borrowing from pension funds – Newstrends
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NLC threatens protest over governors planned borrowing from pension funds

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has warned the state governors not to borrow N17 trillion from the pension funds purportedly for infrastructural development.

The union asked the state chief executives to steer clear of the pension funds, otherwise it would mobilise Nigerian workers in protest against the move.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, gave the warning at the 47th National Executive Council meeting of the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, in Abuja on Thursday, insisting the governors had no authority over the funds.

The Nigerian Governors Forum had last week endorsed the proposal of the Chairman of the National Economic Council Ad hoc Committee, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, to borrow N17trn from the pension funds for infrastructural development.

But Ayuba said, “The pension is not for borrowing, pension money is the retirement savings of workers, it cannot be borrowed. It’s like money in your savings account that nobody can borrow.

“You must go through the bank and in this case, you must go through the PFAs and their guidelines; even the guidelines they want to play down but to the glory of God, the board of PenCom commission has been constituted

“I stand here to represent all of you (workers), we are not going to agree; less than five per cent of the states are keying into the contributory pension, yet they want to borrow the money. The bulk of the money is from the federal government workers and private-sector workers; so how do you want to borrow from where you have not sown?”

The NLC leader lamented that over 18 state governments were delaying the implementation of the new national minimum wage, noting that it was unheard of that the same governments would want to borrow the workers’ pension.

“It’s not free money, and let me sound a bit of warning: any day that we hear the pension fund, our money has been borrowed, I will declare a protest and everybody is going to be on the street to protect our hard-earned money.

“The money belongs to workers, we contribute that money so that when we retire, we can have something for retirement, so they have no say whatsoever; both the principal and the capital belong to us,” he said.

Wabba also commented on the fuel pump price, arguing that it should not be determined by the market forces “whose sole aim was targeted at making profits even at the detriment of the masses.”

He said, “Anything you leave to market forces, citizens will suffer because the primary focus of governance is actually to defend the interest and welfare of our workers and even the citizens and therefore when you leave it to market forces, it is then about profit.”

National President, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Biobelemoye Josiah, condemned the Federal Government’s alleged involvement in scuttling strike actions through the use of some non-governmental organisations, stressing that workers have the rights to embark on industrial actions to drive home their demands.

He said, “In a plethora of cases, the courts have affirmed the right of the workers to embark on strike. Strike is a legitimate weapon available to the trade unions to ventilate their grievances, especially when the provision in section 41 of the Trade Dispute Act bordering on the number of days has been compiled with.

“I would, therefore, appeal to the Federal Government to enrich our industrial relations practice through the interplay of the relationship between the management (Government) and the workers (Trade Unions) rather than scuttling the relationship through a third party interloper represented by the NGOs.”

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Egg price hike caused by feed cost – Poultry farmers

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Egg price hike caused by feed cost – Poultry farmers

The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has blamed the consistent hike in egg prices on low production and high cost of feed.

The PAN Lagos state Chairman, Mr Mojeed Iyiola, and other stakeholders in the sector disclosed this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.

NAN reports that the price of egg has increased tremendously, making the common source of protein in the past out of the reach of many Nigerians.

NAN also reports that a crate of egg sells between N3,800 and N4,000 from the farm gate and above N4,500 in retail shops and markets against N3,200 to N3,500 it was sold in May.

A tonne of maize currently sells for N800,000 as against N400,000 in January.

Iyiola attributed the persistent hike in the price of eggs to scarcity.

“The reason for the current hike in the price of eggs is that eggs are very scarce now.

“Most farmers have sold off their old layers, and to get new stock is very expensive as the price of a day-old chick is becoming unbearable.

“Farmers able to buy day-old chicks are considered to be well-to-do. Also, a majority of our local farmers have shut down their farms due to the high cost of feed.

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“Presently, a kilogramme of maize costs as high as N850 as against N400 to N500 that was being sold for at the beginning of the year.

“The same thing applies to soya and the groundnut cake, the prices have increased astronomically,” the PAN chairman said.

He, however, said that the increase in the cost of eggs is not commensurate to the rate at which the cost of feed materials are increasing.

“In fact most farmers are running at a loss. That is why the only existing farmers are trying to keep the sector running.

“Even if a crate of egg sells at N5,000, the farmers will only be managing to get by.

“We want to liaise with the food hub at Idi-oro, our farmers are complaining that they can no longer afford to sell at a loss.

“We supply eggs at the farm gate at N3,800 per crate and with the same logistics we still sell at N3,800 at the hub. This means we are running at a loss.

“With all these incurred logistics expenses a crate of eggs should be sold for N4,500 at the food hub,” he said.

According to him, the way things are going if things are not controlled, the sector may collapse entirely.

“It seems consuming eggs have become luxury in our diets.

“We have scheduled a meeting with the government to tackle the situation because there is nothing an individual can do on this issue. We need government intervention,” Iyiola added.

Also speaking, Mr Godwin Egbebe, the National Publicity Secretary PAN, attributed the hike in the cost of raw materials to the reason for the rise in egg prices.

“Early this month, a tonne of maize sold for N720,000 but as of today 12 June, 2024, it sells at N800,000. During the former President Buhari’s administration a tonne of maize was sold at N80,000.

“The increment is over 1,000 per cent, so you can see the reasons for the hike in poultry producers.

“The way forward is that government as a matter of urgency should bring in grains in the short term.

“And in the long term, they should ensure that farmers go back to their farms secured.

“Farmers are not producing enough grains because of insecurity. Palliatives cannot solve the problem, it is like a drop in an ocean. It makes little or no impact,” Egbebe said.

He said that in some supermarkets, eggs are being sold for N5,000 and above.

“Everyday we go to buy feeds, the price changes. As we speak, farmers are actually selling at a loss.

“Most farmers are not breaking even, so they are folding up, it is not funny anymore,” he said.

On her part, Mrs Theresa Muyi, a poultry farmer in Alimosho, decried the situation and the helplessness of local farmers to the persistent hike in feed prices.

“Poultry feed has gone up and we now sell a crate of egg from the farm gate between N3,800 and N4,000. The retailers sell from N4,500 and above.

“The price is still unstable because almost every week there is an increase in feed prices.

“Eggs seem to have become luxury to the common man as a piece of egg now sells at N200 and above,” Muyi said.

Egg price hike caused by feed cost – Poultry farmers

NAN

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My refinery will begin petrol supply next month, says Aliko Dangote

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President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote

My refinery will begin petrol supply next month, says Aliko Dangote

The Dangote refinery has said its plan to release premium motor spirit into the market this month will no longer be possible, sparking reactions from Nigerians.

The President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote told newsmen during a tour of the facility with Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu of Lagos State on Sunday that the petrol from the 650,000 barrels per day capacity refinery would be out in July.

Dangote said this was due to some minor challenges, stating that the product would be out by July 10 to 15.

“We had a bit of delay, but PMS will start coming out by 10 to 15 of July. But then we want to keep it in the tank to make sure that it settles. So by the third week of July, we’ll be able to come out to take it into the market,” Dangote had said.

Reacting to the update from Dangote, some Nigerians held different views on what could have been the reason for the recurrent postponement.

A Facebook user, Anthony Ihenyen, said it was not easy to have such a huge investment.

“You are trying, sir, and it will fly. We need more people like you to do more here in Nigeria, not abroad. Nobody is a saint.

On his part, Emmanuel Ose expressed concern, saying “Anything that will make an average Nigerian happy is always a problem to get in Nigeria”.

Another commenter, Adeola Orukotan, said, “When you know your refinery isn’t ready, why rush to declare it open? Now it’s over one year with story upon story.”

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An X user, @ajagunsegun, stated, “Nigerians were told that the Dangote refinery was due for operation when it was commissioned by Buhari in May 2023, but up until now, we’re still waiting. Well, Dangote has the right to run his private business however he wishes. But what about the four Nigerian refineries? When President Tinubu came into power, he promised that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operation by December last year, this is June 2024, and we’re still waiting. Sincerely, there’s no way you’ll reside in Nigeria without developing the tendency to lie. There are too many lies and government propaganda everywhere.

But Michael Chibuzo remarked that a refinery is not a “barbecue business.”

“It is complex. You have to pass a lot of tests and carry out many test runs. Commercial production is always the last stage of the entire process. Let’s be patient,” Chibuzo advised.

@Selomsarl stated, “Thank you for the update, Mr. Dangote. We appreciate your commitment to ensuring the quality of the petrol before releasing it into the market. Your dedication to producing high-quality products is commendable. Questions, sir: How will the new refinery’s production affect the current fuel scarcity in the country? Will the petrol produced by the refinery be subsidised, or will it be sold at the current market price? How will the distribution of the petrol be handled to ensure it reaches all states and regions equally?”

In all of these, a netizen, Stanley Omoyemi, submitted, “We are waiting patiently.”

The PUNCH recalls that Dangote, last month, disclosed that it would begin the sale of PMS in June, saying his refinery would end the importation of petrol into Nigeria.

Speaking at the recent Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, Dangote expressed optimism about transforming Africa’s energy landscape.

“Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of a litre,” he declared

“We have enough gasoline to give to at least the entire West Africa, diesel to give to West Africa and Central Africa. We have enough aviation fuel to give to the entire continent and also export some to Brazil and Mexico.

“We have started producing jet fuel, we are producing diesel, and by next month, we’ll be producing gasoline. What that will do, it will be able to take most African crude,” Dangote told the panel.

The words of Dangote appeared to have come as a soothing balm to marketers and Nigerians who are hopeful that the Dangote would crash the price of petrol from around N700 to N500 or below.

My refinery will begin petrol supply next month, says Aliko Dangote

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Naira appreciates further to N1,473/$ at official market

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Naira-dollar

Naira appreciates further to N1,473/$ at official market

The Naira on Tuesday further appreciated at the official market trading at N1,473.66 to the dollar. Data from the official trading platform of the FMDQ Exchange showed that the Naira gained N9.96.

This represents a 0.67 per cent gain when compared to the previous trading date on Monday when it traded at N1,483.62 to the dollar.

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However, the volume of currency traded increased to $385.91 million on Tuesday up from $161.69 million recorded on Monday.

Meanwhile, at the Investor’s and Exporter’s (I&E) window, the Nigerian currency traded between N1,495 and N1,415 against the dollar.

Naira appreciates further to N1,473/$ at official market

(NAN)

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