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NIGERIA

FG meets NLC, TUC, others Saturday

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The Federal Government has scheduled a special meeting with representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, their affiliates as well as members of Civil Society Organisations as one of the ways to end incessant industrial actions by workers.

The Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting he held with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.

Ngige said at the meeting slated for Saturday, officials would disclose the true state of government’s financial account to the labour leaders so that they can appreciate the challenges facing the nation.

The minister, who briefed the President on the recent strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors which was suspended on Thursday, said Buhari had approved the meeting with the labour leaders.

He said, “The President has approved for us to have a bigger government side meeting with the organised labour.

“All government institutions that have to do with the finances of government will join us to meet with them and show them the books.

“So, the invitation is going out to them this afternoon (Friday), the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and their affiliates or supporters and friends in the Civil Society Organisations.

“The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday), so, I will relate more with the Chief of Staff to the President and the leadership of the unions today so that we do this meeting tomorrow.

“At the meeting, government finances, challenges and everything will be laid bare on the table. They will also table their own fears and what they think is also good for the Nigerian people especially the workers, so that we look at them.”

On the recent hike in electricity tariff and the public outcry that followed, Ngige said, “The electricity tariff as you know, the Electricity Regulatory Commission approved the increase based on certain electricity band R1 and R2.

“Even in the R2 band, you have soft bands so that we can protect the rural poor and people who are in the suburbs.

“So, we are going to look at them holistically because we want a stable labour industrial union in the country so the President has been briefed and he is in tune and has given the support to talk to everybody we need to talk to.”

The minister said representatives of unions in the nation’s tertiary institutions would also attend the meeting to table their positions on some issues.

He added, “The tripartite unions of university system including some colleges of education and some hospitals; Non-Academic Staff of Universities, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the National Association of Academic Technologists, we have invited them to a meeting.

“The leadership met with me last week and the major thrust of the challenges they have is on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information system.

“They claimed and alleged that the IPPIS system is over deducting some line items like taxes, the Pay As You Earn taxes they claim the IPPIS system is charging more than they supposed to debit.

“They also claimed that some allowances that are peculiar to the university system like responsibility allowance, hazard allowance, field trip allowance and education of children allowance, that the IPPIS has stopped all of them.

“At the government level, we have discussed and we now want to do a special session with them, they come with their facts and the Accountant-General will lead his team, the National Salaries and Incomes and Wages will also come and the Ministry of Labour will lead and then we discuss and find out who is treating the other unfairly,” he explained.

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NIGERIA

No going back on Water Resources Bill – FG

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The Federal Government has declared it will go ahead with the Water Resources Bill.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed told reporters the bill was not designed to cause water wars in the country.

He said the bill is a panacea to likely water conflicts in the country.

He said critics of the bill have either not read it or might be mischievous.

He said there is no hidden agenda behind the bill.

He said it is not a subterfuge reintroduction of RUGA.

Mohammed made the clarifications at a joint briefing with the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu in Abuja.

He said: “There is nothing new about the National Water Resources Bill. This is because it is an amalgamation of Water Resources Laws that have been in existence for a long time.

These are:

– Water Resources Act, Cap W2 LFN 2004

– The River Basin Development Authority Act, Cap R9 LFN 2004

– The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (Establishment) Act, Cap N1100A, LFN 2004

– National Water Resources Institute Act, Cap N83 LFN 2004

“So, why are the laws being re-packaged as the National Water Resources Bill 2020?

“The answer is that they are being re-enacted with necessary modifications to bring them in line with current global trends as well as best practices in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

“The overall objective of this amalgamation is the efficient management of the Water Resources Sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the well-being of its citizens.

“The Bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and ground water for the use of the people (i.e. for domestic and non-domestic use, irrigation, agricultural purposes, generation of hydro-electric energy, navigation, fisheries and recreation).

“The Bill will ensure that the nation’s water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all persons.

“Critics contend that the Bill is aimed at taking the resources of a certain part of the country for the use of herders. In other words, the Federal Government is seeking to implement RUGA by subterfuge.

“We also want to state that the Bill is for the good of the nation, and has no hidden agenda whatsoever.”

Adamu said the bill was sent to all the states for concurrence without any object.

He said the bill predated the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said:” This was never a Buhari bill, it is a bill for Nigeria. It started 2008 long before the President thought of winning election.”

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NIGERIA

#Fuel hike: No going back on strike, protest – NLC

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has vowed to proceed with its planned strike and protest with effect from September 28 following the failure of the Federal Government to reverse the hike in electricity tariff and fuel price.

Rising from its National Executive Council meeting in Abuja a few minutes ago, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the proposed action by the organised labour would proceed from next week.

He stated that the decision was unanimously taken by the chairmen of the 36 states and FCT chapters of the NLC.

Details later…

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Business

#Technology: Sanusi Urges Youths To Explore and not Rely on Government

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The Former Central Bank Governor, CBN, Mohammed Sanusi (II), has urged Nigeria youths not to rely on government but to explore and create opportunities for themselves, especially with technology.

The former CBN governor who was the guest speaker on the second day of the Kaduna Investment Summit explained that over-reliance on oil has left the country unproductive.

“We need to think over and over again as to how we understand economics and what we see. How do we understand technology or electricity are we consumers or are we producers and that’s why investment in human capital is so important.

“Produce young men who know that they are worth more than just using their phone to import a pair of shoes,” he said.

Sanusi said Nigeria has to take economic diversification more seriously in order to experience growth and development.

Referencing Malaysia, Sanusi gave a breakdown of the economic growth of both countries within a 30-year period.

According to him, for Nigeria “there was an increase in wealth but without any structural transformation”.

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“We were growing but we did not diversify and that explains the huge levels of poverty in the country, it explains the huge levels of inequality in the country, it explains the vulnerability of the economy to shocks, it also explains the relatively slow pace of growth because when Malaysia started, they started from a GDP per capita level lower than Nigeria’s GDP per capita in 1985. It started from $310 to $4,045 while we started from $345 to $2,055”.

He also stressed the importance of the government creating the right environment and infrastructure for private businesses to thrive.

The former CBN governor who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency noted that with the right environment, the country can move away from being only consumers to producers of technology.

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