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N30,000 minimum wage meaningless with petrol price hike – NLC

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The Nigeria Labour Congress and civil rights groups on Tuesday said there was no economic basis in the claim by the Federal Government that the petrol price in the country was among the lowest in Africa.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba,  in an interview, said the government should have situated its argument against the devaluation of the naira and the minimum wage being paid to workers.

Also,  some state chapters of the NLC said the hike in electricity tariff and the petrol price had rendered the N30,000 minimum wage meaningless.

Following the increase of the ex-depot price of petrol by the Federal Government last week, marketers adjusted their pump prices to between N158 and N162 from N148 to N150 in August.

On Monday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said despite the increase in the price of petrol, the price of the commodity in Nigeria remained among the cheapest in Africa.

But puncturing the government’s claims, Wabba emphasised that the government failed to acknowledge the fact that the naira had been on free fall for many years and this, he added, had affected the prices of commodities.

He noted, “That comparison cannot even stand because our currency has been on free fall and it has been devaluated over and over again. So, the basis for comparison is faulty. If they (other countries) have stronger currencies, it means our currency is weak.

“Not only petroleum products but all other commodities are also expensive in Nigeria because of the free fall of the naira. Can they also make the comparison on the basis of the stability of the currencies of other countries over the years and the instability of the Nigerian currency over the last five years? You can then get the answer.”

When asked if the minimum wage was commensurate with the hike in the petrol price and electricity tariff, Wabba maintained that the government should have considered the impact of its decision on the workers.

He said, “The point we have made is that many Nigerians have been pushed to the edge and it is insensitive to increase the prices of the two commodities at the same time-petroleum products and the electricity. You can see the impact already in the prices of bread which have increased from N250 to N300.”

The NLC Chairman in Ogun State,  Emmanuel Bankole, in an interview, also dismissed the government’s argument.

Bankole said the comparison made by the government was fake and was done in isolation.

He asked, “What is the minimum wage the workers in those countries are receiving?  Those are the things to consider. The facilities in those countries, can we compare ours with those ones?  That comparison is fake.”

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NIGERIA

NAICOM to stay action in suit against insurance recapitalisation

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The National Insurance Commission, on Tuesday, pledged to stay action on its planned recapitalization of insurance and reinsurance companies in the country.

NAICOM gave the assurance through its lawyer, Mr Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), when the suit challenging the process resumed before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday.

The incorporated trustees of the Standard Shareholders Association of Nigeria and Mr Godwin Anono had jointly sued NAICOM as the sole defendant in the suit.

The plaintiffs are by their suit challenging the legality of the recapitalization process.

NAICOM had via its circulars issued on May 20, 2019, July 23, 2019, and December 30, 2019, directed all insurance and reinsurance companies in the country to increase their “minimum paid-up share capital “not later than September 30, 2021.

But, the plaintiffs had through their lawyer, Ayodele Akintunde (SAN), instituted their suit to challenge the recapitalization policy, which they argued was commenced by the regulatory body without compliance with the requirements of the law.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Justice Mohammed noted that there was no situation warranting an urgent hearing of the case.

He added that his time as a vacation judge would end on September 25, hence, he would have to send the case file to the Chief Judge of the court for re-assignment to another judge.

But the plaintiff’s lawyer, Akintunde, expressed fear that if a restraining order was not issued against NAICOM by the court, the agency might go ahead with the recapitalisation process while waiting for the matter to be heard and determined.

Responding, however, NAICOM’s lawyer, Ume restated his earlier pledge that his client would not continue with the recapitalisation process until the determination of the suit.

“Since we have been coming in the last three weeks, nothing has changed. Everything has remained. My lord, it can never happen,” he said.

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NIGERIA

Enforce Public Procurement Laws – CSOs tells Buhari

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Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center CISLAC has called for the enforcement of public procurement laws in all contract bidding especially one that has to do with international organisations.

Citing the Process and Industrial Developments Limited P&ID case, the agency said the international scam would not have been possible if due diligence was followed and public officials, patriotic and honest.

The agency also decried the connivance by Nigeria public officers with foreign companies to defraud the country of monies that could be spent on providing basic amenities for the citizens.

While lamenting the non interest of National Assembly in the case, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa expressed regrets over efforts by the lawyers representing the country to frustrate the case.

The CSO commended the proposed Database for recovered assets, but however called on the government clarify if the database will be accessible to the ordinary citizens.

CISLAC therefore called on citizens to continue to hold public officers accountable.

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NIGERIA

Nigerian Navy deploys 6 warships, 60 gunboats for operation in 4 States

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The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday deployed troops on board six warships and 60 gunboats for a special military exercise.

The drill targets pirates, oil smugglers and other criminalizes in the nation’s waters.

Rear Admiral David Adeniran, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Calabar, made the announcement.

He spoke at the flag-off of the exercise in Onne, Rivers State

The operation code-named, ‘Exercise Sanga Sung,’ means ‘Safe Transit’ in Ibibio dialect.

The States to be covered are Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi and Rivers.

The commander explained the operation would consolidate ‘Exercises Bekan Mmon I and II’

Adeniran added that the purpose was to train personnel and check the state of preparedness of fleets.

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