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.”

Railway

Lagos-Ibadan rail to get three more trains as NRC opens two new stations

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Lagos-Ibadan rail to get four more trains as NRC opens two new stations

The Nigerian Railway Corporation will soon increase the daily train trips on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line from two to six.
Railway District Manager (RDM) for Lagos, Augustine Arisa, an engineer, disclosed this in an interview with some select journalists including NewsTrends reporter.

He said four more trains, two each from Lagos and Ibadan, would be added as soon as ongoing work on the telecommunication facility was completed. The facility will ensure smooth communication and between the train driver and the control tower.
Arisa spoke just as the corporation has opened for operation two recently completed train stations along the route, Ijoko and Papalanto.
The RDM said, “We currently run two return trips on Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge line. I want to run six trains daily when the telecommunication facility is fully ready.
“I also want to move more containers from the port. This will no doubt positively affect the prices of goods in the market.
“It’s a lot of trailers that will be taken off the road. In the long run, it makes the products being carried cheaper for the final consumers/ buyers
“The double issue of accumulated demurrage and port congestion will also be solved with the evacuation of cargoes by rail. It saves the importer the cost of demurrage and ultimately makes the goods cheaper.”
He also spoke on the measure being taken to reduce the cost of moving containerised goods from Apapa port, Lagos, to Ibadan, Oyo State, following complaints by importers and customs agents.
Already, he said the Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, (an engineer), had set up a committee to review the container haulage rate in order to make it competitive and attractive to more people.
He said, “When the issue came to us, the MD immediately called a meeting and set up a committee to review the situation.
“All over the world, people complain of double handling.”
“On the complaint, we are expecting the report of the committee for a possible downward review of the freight rate,” Arisa added.
Meanwhile, the corporation has officially inaugurated the Ijoko and Papalanto train stations.
The report of the opening was obtained by NewsTrends from the NRC website on Tuesday.
This is therefore good news for people hoping to board or drop the train at these stations.
Before now, the train only stopped at Agege, Abeokuta and Omi Adio after taking off from Mobolaji Johnson Station in Lagos or Obafemi Awolowo Station in Ibadan.

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Auto

Excitement as Jetour Steals the Show at Abuja Motor Fair

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Excitement as Jetour Steals the Show at Abuja Motor Fair

Jetour, the new kid on the block in the Nigerian auto market, is currently making waves in its debut at the ongoing Abuja Motor Fair.
Jetour’s beautifully decorated pavillion and its array of new vehicles
were one of the major attractions at the auto event holding at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Most visitors to the fair since Monday December 4, 2023 when the fair arena was open, were held spellbound by the aesthetics and unique designs of all the new Jetour models on display.
On parade within the brand’s enclosed stand are X70 Liberty, X-70 Plus Elegance, X-90 Cruise, and Dashing, all sport utility vehicles.
Members of the National Assembly are expected to have a full view of the Jetour dashing beauty on wheels at the assembly complex in Abuja next week where the brand of vehicles will be showcased.
After the official opening ceremony of the Abuja Auto Fair on Tuesday, the special guests including a representative of the Director General of the NADDC Joseph Osanipin had the opportunity to visit each vehicle’s stand at the fair.
The NADDC DG representative could not resist the urge to feel one of the Jetour models X70 Plus Elegance as he stepped into the driver’s seat.
He marvelled at the dazzling dashboard and other features of the resplendent interior.
Obviously impressed by what he saw inside and outside the vehicle, he said, “This is beautiful.”


All the models boasting advanced technologies, comfort and creative designs have kept people at the auto show amazed, especially going by their affordable prices.
Jetour, one of China’s most revered auto brands and launched by Chery Holding Group in 2018, has scored many firsts in China where competition is really high in the auto sector.
According to Jetour’s representative in Nigeria, Jetour Mobility Services, “Jetour Automobile is a new brand launched by Chery Holdings in response to the market trend and consumer demand.
Jetour says its focus is to be a leader in mobility as well as provide reasonable travel solutions for individuals and families.
It has set a goal of providing an excellent vehicles that demonstrate individuality for today’s young people.

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Business

Stakeholders seek Islamic financing for primary healthcare

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Stakeholders seek Islamic financing for primary healthcare

Finance and healthcare experts have called for the utilisation of Islamic financing as an alternative funding source for primary healthcare in Nigeria.

They made the call yesterday in Abuja during a one-day international summit organised by the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation and the Duke Logistics and Consult Limited with the support of the Development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC).

The summit brought together, participants from the Islamic Development Bank, academics, the business community and technology firms on telemedicine, among others.

It was themed ‘Harnessing Innovative Sources of Financing Primary Healthcare Infrastructural Development in Nigeria.’

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A former Kano State governor, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, who chaired the summit, said that investing in digital health technology through the instrument of Islamic financing would not only bridge the gaps in healthcare delivery in Nigeria but also improve access, reduce geographical barriers, and enhance the quality of healthcare services.

He said it would also seamlessly provide specialised healthcare for Nigerians regardless of their social status.

Dr Stanley Ukpai said there was a need for Nigeria to review its dependence on budget as the only source of healthcare financing.

He called on stakeholders at the summit to find alternative funding sources to diversify the domestic funding sources for health.

The president of the African Islamic Economic Foundation, Malam Baba Yunus Muhammad, said accessibility to quality primary healthcare remained a significant hurdle, especially in remote areas, adding that digital technology and Islamic finance could play a pivotal role in revolutionising healthcare infrastructural development.

Stakeholders seek Islamic financing for primary healthcare

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