Connect with us

Business

Workers protest against minimum wage bill, tackle APC govs

Published

on

Thousands of workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress on Wednesday stormed the National Assembly in Abuja to protest against a bill seeking to move the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list.

The protesters chanting solidarity songs and carrying placards with various inscriptions arrived at the National Assembly at 11am.

They had marched the Unity Fountain in Maitama with their banners and loud music to the National Assembly.

They disrupted vehicular traffic as most lawmakers, staff and visitors were forced to make a detour into the National Assembly complex through the Villa and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) gates.

Several commuters and motorists around Ahmadu Bello Way, Shehu Shagari Way and the Federal Secretariat had a hectic time assessing their destinations during the protest.

The Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, met the protesters at the MOPOL gate of the National Assembly and joined them in marching into the main complex.

The protesters were officially received at the forecourt of the National Assembly by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan represented by Senator Sabi Abdullahi and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila represented by the Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa.

The bill which was sponsored by Garba Datti, lawmaker representing Sabon Gari federal constituency, has passed first and second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill seeks to decentralise the payment of minimum wage to workers in the country to allow states to pay according to their financial capacity.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who expressed labour’s opposition to the bill, said workers would not allow “hard fought rights which are global standards to be bastardised by opportunistic and narrow minded politicians.”

Meanwhile, the organised labour in Ekiti State has accused All Progressive Congress (APC) governors of sponsoring the bill seeking removal of the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list.

The labour alleged that some governors’ within the ruling APC branded as ‘enemies of workers’ contracted Hon. Garba Muhammed, representing Sabon Gari federal constituency, Kaduna State, to initiate the wage re-classification bill.

The union leaders made the allegations while protesting against the plans by the House of Representatives to alter the present wage structure, which gave the Federal Government the exclusive power to negotiate minimum wage for workers in the country.

Participating in the demonstration were members of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Joint Negotiation Committe (JNC) and other affiliated unions.

The labour leaders converged at the popular Fajuyi park in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital around 8:45am and took off for the protest at about 10:15am.

Addressing the Speaker, Funmiyi Afuye, the TUC chairman, Sola Adigun, condemned differential minimum wage bill, describing it as obnoxious legislation laced with evil intents targeted at the Nigerian workers.

“It’s saddening and disheartening that one Hon. Garba Datti which we all know are sponsored by governors of the APC, the enemies of workers, said minimum wage should be removed from the exclusive list to the concurrent list.

 

Business

CBN governor, bank chiefs on a collision course over amount of new notes

Published

on

The cash crunch that hit most banks in the country since Monday, January 30, 2023 continued yesterday as banks said they had not been getting enough cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disburse to their customers.

Consequently, the Association Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make public how much new naira notes it had pushed into circulation, even as it expressed worry over the scarcity of new and old naira notes in the country.

The president of ASSBIFI, Comrade Olusoji Oluwole, lamented that Nigerians are going through excruciating difficulties in order to feed and do business transactions because of the cash crunch brought by the policy. He called for a review of the policy in order to save Nigerians from further hardship.

Oluwole urged the CBN to publicly declare how much of the new Naira notes has been printed and distributed so far to banks for disbursement compared with what has been withdrawn from the public.

The ASSBIFI helmsman disclosed that its independent study showed that the volume of the new notes in circulation is highly insufficient and most of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have no new notes to dispense, while some of those dispensing are still paying out old notes.

“Nigerians have been reduced to moving from one ATM point to another in search of new Naira notes that should have been abundantly supplied. Pressure has been on bank workers who interface with the angry public in the process of depositing old or withdrawing the new notes, and we request urgent actions by the CBN to avoid attacks and other unruly actions against these bank workers as their safety and health are of great concern to the union to us in ASSBIFI,” Oluwole said.

A banker who craved anonymity said addressing the scarcity of cash is something that only the CBN can do, even as he said there ought to be discussions between the CBN and the committee of bank chief executives on how to address the ongoing scenario.

“The CBN should know what our requirements are, they should know what we require and how much will serve our customers. A bank that has over 300 branches and the CBN is giving them only N350 million; that means N1 million per branch. How do we deal with this?

The cash crunch that hit most banks in the country since Monday, January 30, 2023 continued yesterday as banks said they have not been getting enough cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disburse to their customers.

Consequently, the Association Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make public how much new Naira notes it had pushed into circulation, even as it expressed worry over the scarcity of new and old Naira notes in the country.

The president of ASSBIFI, Comrade Olusoji Oluwole, lamented that Nigerians are going through excruciating difficulties in order to feed and do business transactions because of the cash crunch brought by the policy. He called for a review of the policy in order to save Nigerians from further hardship.

Oluwole urged the CBN to publicly declare how much of the new Naira notes has been printed and distributed so far to banks for disbursement compared with what has been withdrawn from the public.

The ASSBIFI helmsman disclosed that its independent study showed that the volume of the new notes in circulation is highly insufficient and most of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have no new notes to dispense, while some of those dispensing are still paying out old notes.

“Nigerians have been reduced to moving from one ATM point to another in search of new Naira notes that should have been abundantly supplied. Pressure has been on bank workers who interface with the angry public in the process of depositing old or withdrawing the new notes, and we request urgent actions by the CBN to avoid attacks and other unruly actions against these bank workers as their safety and health are of great concern to the union to us in ASSBIFI,” Oluwole said.

A banker who craved anonymity said addressing the scarcity of cash is something that only the CBN can do, even as he said there ought to be discussions between the CBN and the committee of bank chief executives on how to address the ongoing scenario.

“The CBN should know what our requirements are, they should know what we require and how much will serve our customers. A bank that has over 300 branches and the CBN is giving them only N350 million; that means N1 million per branch. How do we deal with this?

“We can’t even pay with the old note and we don’t have the new notes. The new trend is that, because banks don’t want to get in trouble, they are paying customers in N100 and N20 notes. And that is because they don’t want more problems. Customers are protesting that they want their money and since the lower denominations are still legal tender, banks are paying with them.

“There is a shortage of cash everywhere. We did not envisage what is happening now. The only place where a solution can come is from CBN. The CBN should release more cash, and at the CEO level, there should be engagements with CBN on this,” the banker stated.

The president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has attributed the current scarcity of old/new Naira notes coupled with fuel scarcity and hike in pump prices to systemic failure and corruption.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP in Lagos yesterday, Wabba said: “Millions of man-hours are lost with many people now rendered unproductive by scarcity of old, new Naira notes while people now spend hours on queue for fuel in a society blessed with abundant human and natural resources.

“The unbanked people living in rural areas and marketers are feeling the pain more as they don’t have any other means of survival. There are no old and new maira notes for people to transact business. Why the haste in implementation of Naira redesign which could have been allowed to flow side by side for months before old notes are eventually mopped up.”

Nationwide, bank tellers have been turning customers away as they say there is no cash to pay them, and queues at the few Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that are paying cash are growing longer.

Ngozi, a trader who sells electrical materials alongside her husband in Lagos said she is already running low on cash and does not know if she will be able to open her shop by the end of the week if the cash crunch continues.

“All the people that have been patronising my shop have been doing transfers which even misbehaves. I went to the bank to collect cash so that we can have money to run around and I was told that I can only get N2000. I have money in the bank and I can’t take it. It is very frustrating,” she said.

The cash crunch that hit most banks in the country since Monday, January 30, 2023 continued yesterday as banks said they have not been getting enough cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disburse to their customers.

Consequently, the Association Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make public how much new Naira notes it had pushed into circulation, even as it expressed worry over the scarcity of new and old Naira notes in the country.

The president of ASSBIFI, Comrade Olusoji Oluwole, lamented that Nigerians are going through excruciating difficulties in order to feed and do business transactions because of the cash crunch brought by the policy. He called for a review of the policy in order to save Nigerians from further hardship.

Oluwole urged the CBN to publicly declare how much of the new Naira notes has been printed and distributed so far to banks for disbursement compared with what has been withdrawn from the public.

The ASSBIFI helmsman disclosed that its independent study showed that the volume of the new notes in circulation is highly insufficient and most of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have no new notes to dispense, while some of those dispensing are still paying out old notes.

“Nigerians have been reduced to moving from one ATM point to another in search of new Naira notes that should have been abundantly supplied. Pressure has been on bank workers who interface with the angry public in the process of depositing old or withdrawing the new notes, and we request urgent actions by the CBN to avoid attacks and other unruly actions against these bank workers as their safety and health are of great concern to the union to us in ASSBIFI,” Oluwole said.

A banker who craved anonymity said addressing the scarcity of cash is something that only the CBN can do, even as he said there ought to be discussions between the CBN and the committee of bank chief executives on how to address the ongoing scenario.

“The CBN should know what our requirements are, they should know what we require and how much will serve our customers. A bank that has over 300 branches and the CBN is giving them only N350 million; that means N1 million per branch. How do we deal with this?

“We can’t even pay with the old note and we don’t have the new notes. The new trend is that, because banks don’t want to get in trouble, they are paying customers in N100 and N20 notes. And that is because they don’t want more problems. Customers are protesting that they want their money and since the lower denominations are still legal tender, banks are paying with them.

“There is a shortage of cash everywhere. We did not envisage what is happening now. The only place where a solution can come is from CBN. The CBN should release more cash, and at the CEO level, there should be engagements with CBN on this,” the banker stated.

The president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has attributed the current scarcity of old/new Naira notes coupled with fuel scarcity and hike in pump prices to systemic failure and corruption.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP in Lagos yesterday, Wabba said: “Millions of man-hours are lost with many people now rendered unproductive by scarcity of old, new Naira notes while people now spend hours on queue for fuel in a society blessed with abundant human and natural resources.

“The unbanked people living in rural areas and marketers are feeling the pain more as they don’t have any other means of survival. There are no old and new maira notes for people to transact business. Why the haste in implementation of Naira redesign which could have been allowed to flow side by side for months before old notes are eventually mopped up.”

Nationwide, bank tellers have been turning customers away as they say there is no cash to pay them, and queues at the few Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that are paying cash are growing longer.

Ngozi, a trader who sells electrical materials alongside her husband in Lagos said she is already running low on cash and does not know if she will be able to open her shop by the end of the week if the cash crunch continues.

“All the people that have been patronising my shop have been doing transfers which even misbehaves. I went to the bank to collect cash so that we can have money to run around and I was told that I can only get N2000. I have money in the bank and I can’t take it. It is very frustrating,” she said.

A roadside fruit seller said all her regular customers have been paying her with transfers and the few who are paying cash have paid with the new notes.

“All the transfers that my customers did yesterday, I am yet to get the alert but since they are my regulars, I am not so worried. This scarcity of cash has to end soon”, she said.

A business woman in Lagos, Mrs Kome Enobong, told LEADERSHIP that she left her home as early as 7am to her bank to withdraw some of the funds in her account, only to be told that there is no money to give to her.

“I have visited three Union Bank branches, but I couldn’t withdraw my money. I was told that there is no money in the bank to give to me. This is my money that I have worked for. The ATMs are not dispensing cash either. How am I going to feed my children, because right now, I don’t even have money on me?,” Mrs Enobong lamented.

A teacher, Mr James Niyi who also shared his ordeal with LEADERSHIP, said, “I cannot withdraw my own hard earned money from my bank. I had to use POS, where I spent N1,000 to get N10,000. This is really pathetic,” Niyi said, calling on CBN to intervene.

A POS operator, Mr Okanlawon noted that, they have not been able to do business as usual as there is no cash to give to customers who continue to throng his shop in search of cash. “My customers have been begging me for cash but what can I do if I don’t have the cash to give them? If this continues, I hope that people don’t take to the streets to riot over scarcity of cash.”

As of yesterday, some POS operators were charging N1,500 for N10,000 withdrawals while some were charging N1,000.

Mrs Akin, a civil servant, said after lots of begging and shouting in the bank, she was able to get N5,000, paid in N5 notes.

LEADERSHIP had, on Tuesday, reported that business activities were paralysed in Lagos State as bank customers queued for long hours at Automated Teller Machine (ATM) terminals across Lagos State to withdraw cash.

Similarly, electronic banking transfer through the mobile app, or USSD code, as well as Point of Sales (POS) machines network were extremely poor as people could not pay for services rendered through the electronic banking system.

Leadership

Continue Reading

Business

New naira scarcity: Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina border residents trade in CFA

Published

on

Residents of border communities in states including Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Adamawa and Kwara have opted for the CFA franc following the scarcity of the new naira notes across the country.

The residents, including traders and commercial drivers, are also rejecting the old naira notes, insisting that customers who do not have the new redesigned currency must pay for goods and services with CFAs.

The CFA franc is the legal tender in eight West African countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, which make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union, otherwise known as the Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine.

Findings by The PUNCH indicated that businessmen and traders in the Zurmi and Shinkafi local government areas of Zamfara State, which border the Niger Republic, prefer the franc to the naira.

Investigation revealed that traders in the two LGAs had been selling their commodities in CFA due to fear that they might not get the new naira notes.

A cattle dealer, Musa Shehu, said he stopped receiving the Nigerian currency since the Central Bank of Nigeria announced the deadline for the swap of the N1,000, N500 and N200 notes.

He stated, “I have since stopped receiving the old naira notes because I don’t have an account and I can’t go to the bank.”

A

trader in Shinkafi town, who shuttles between Nigeria and Niger Republic, explained that most of his customers paid with the CFA.

“I cannot collect old naira notes and give out my commodities to any customer. But I will collect new naira notes and CFA because I am afraid of losing my money if the time for the exchange expires,’’ the trader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

A grain seller in Dada village in Zurmi Local Government, Muhammadu Isa, disclosed that he stopped selling grains in the Nigerian currency after the CBN’s policy on new naira notes was unveiled.

He said that he sold only to those who possessed CFAs to avoid losing money as ‘’my father did in 1983 when the naira notes were hurriedly changed by the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari regime.’’

Isa explained that his late father lost all his money when Buhari changed the national currency in 1983.

The grain trader insisted that he would not accept the old naira notes as there was no bank or Point of Service terminal in his community where he could withdraw the new currencies.

“You see since our people and those from the Niger Republic are coming to buy the grains with the CFA, I see no reason why I should collect old naira notes. If anybody wants to buy grains from me, he must pay in CFA or forget it. I will not collect old naira notes because I don’t know what to do with them after the expiration of the deadline,” he noted.

In a related development, commercial drivers who ply the Niger Republic from Zurmi and Shinkafi LGAs have also stopped collecting the old notes.

They justified their decision with the argument that the CFA was the only legal tender accepted by the people along the Nigeria-Niger borders.

A driver, Alhaji Hamisu, stated that passengers had to pay in CFA if they wanted to travel to the Niger Republic or return to Nigeria ‘’because the old naira notes are unacceptable as legal tender.’’

Hamisu said, “I have on several occasions refused to collect the old naira notes from my passengers because I have no time to go to the bank or PoS to get the new notes.

“Another problem is that you can’t buy fuel with the old naira notes in Niger republic; as such, no commercial driver on cross-border journeys will agree to take the old notes from passengers.

“I was almost stranded in Malbaza town in Niger Republic when I wanted to buy fuel with the old naira notes because we have been doing so before the change of the Nigerian currency.

“I went to the filling station as usual and bought 30 litres of fuel and brought out the old notes but the fuel attendant told me that he would not accept the notes.

pleaded with him but he was not ready to collect the money from me. I was lucky as one of the commercial drivers, who is also my friend, came to buy fuel and he had enough CFAs. I bought the CFA from him and settled the fuel attendant.”

Sokoto border traders

Also, our correspondent discovered that border communities in Sokoto State preferred to sell their products in CFA due in part to the non-availability of the new notes and the continuous loss of naira value.

Speaking with The PUNCH, Mallam Sidi Isa, who trades in cattle in Illela, a border community with the Niger Republic, said he preferred the franc because of the introduction of the new naira notes and the cashless policy.

Also speaking, Mr Jamiu Ola, a motor mechanic, argued that the CFA holds more value than the naira.

“I prefer CFA due to the fact that it is hardly devalued unlike our own naira which has been devalued,” he added.

A businessman, Mallam Haruna Abdulazeez, stated, “I shifted my business to the Niger Republic when I realised I can’t cope with the economy of this country anymore.

f I buy goods from Nigeria and take same to Niger Republic, I make profits due to the value after the exchange. Even if you take sachet water there, you will make your profits due to the exchange rate.”

A Sokoto resident, Muhammad Auwal, submitted that the CFA holds more value than the naira, hence his preference for foreign currency.

“I normally exchange my naira for CFA as it is not reasonable for someone to keep naira at home due to loss of value,’’ he declared.

Adamawa cattle dealers

Speaking in an interview, the Chairman of Mubi International Cattle Market in Adamawa State, Jafaru Hamman, lamented the scarcity of newly redesigned naira notes, adding that the difficulties in getting the currency had affected commerce at the border communities.

The problem, according to him, is that most traders in Mubi are accustomed to cash transactions and the cashless policy may take time to get mass support.

Commenting on the decision of Adamawa communities to opt for the franc over the naira, a cattle dealer, Jafaru Hamman, explained that even before the CBN policy, some traders were using the West African CFA in business transactions.

Punch

Continue Reading

Business

Electricity generation: FG approves 11 new GenCos

Published

on

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has revealed that it has issued 11 new electricity generation licenses.

This was disclosed in NERC’s newly released report that details its activities in the first quarter of 2022.

The regulator did not reveal the names of the new electricity generating companies and their capacities.

The approval of 11 new GenCos takes the country’s electricity generating plants to 40 as it had 29 of them- 26 gas plants, and three hydro plants- before the latest addition.

The 29 existing plants have a combined 13,461MW capacity, but they have been unable to generate up to 5000MW for some years.

Experts say Nigeria needs at least 30, 000MW to reach electricity sufficiency.

The NERC also said in the report that it also renewed two of the existing licenses and transferred one on-grid generation license.

READ ALSO:

“In 2022/Q1, the commission approved the issuance of eleven (11) new generation licenses, renewal of two (2) existing licenses and transfer of one (1) on-grid generation license. The Commission also approved forty-one (41) mini-grid registration/permits and granted an aggregate capacity of 186.06MW captive power generation permits to seven (7) new companies. Twelve (12) Metering Service Providers (MSP) consisting of eight (8) meter installers, three (3) meter manufacturers and one (1) meter importer, were also approved by the Commission in 2022/Q1,” the report stated.

The Punch recently reported how 26 out of the plants’ capacity dropped by 26 per cent, while three are totally down, unable to generate a single megawatt.

According to data sourced from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, the drop in output occurred from January 2019 to December 2022.

The data showed that between January 2021 and December last year, the capacity of the 26 power plants dropped to 4522MW.

The power plants affected were Afam-IV-V, Alaoji NIPP, Azura Edo, Delta, Egbin, GBARAIN, Geregu, GereguNIPP, Ibom Power, Ihovbor NIPP, Jebba, Kainji, Odukpani, Okpai, Olorunsogo, Olorunsogo NIPP, Omoku, Omotosho, Omotosho NIPP, ParasEnergy, RiversIPP, Sapele, Sapele NIPP, Shiroro, and Trans Amadi.

On the other hand, three plants are currently down, unable to generate power between 2019 and 2022. The plants affected are AES, Dadinkowa and Asco.

In a bid to salvage power generation, Chairman, NERC, Sanusi Garba, told journalists in Lagos that the entire value chain of the power sector, comprising the DisCos, GenCos and TCN had signed a contract and they were committed to delivering 5,000MW per day of electricity to consumers, starting from July last year.

Continue Reading

Trending