- No Wage Increase, no Recovery, Says Aremu
There can be no meaningful economic recovery until the Federal Government addresses productivity and wages matters, the General Secretary, National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers (NUTGTW), Comrade Issa Aremu, has said.
In a reaction to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that Nigeria, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 0.55 per cent, is out of recession, he noted that the economy has the potential for faster recovery and not just exiting recession.
According to Aremu, this could have been possible if the government had put an end to the persistent crisis of compensation of the working class, manifesting in what he termed as “criminal” non-payment and delayed payments of salary by many states, despite several Federal Government bailouts of trillions of naira.
On the the NBS positive growth numbers of 0.55 per cent, compared to the negative contraction of 1.6 per cent in 2016, Aremu said Nigeria could only recover from economic recession with enhanced purchasing power, which is only possible through prompt and adequate payment of over 10 million employed workforce.
The labour leader, who likened Nigeria’s economy to a big, blind economy, which gets excited with a dimmed ray of eye sight, said it was time Nigeria got right its growth and development numbers.
He noted that the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) (2016-2020), launched last year, envisaged 4.6 per cent real GDP growth in the year, adding that this makes the recent token positive growth of 0.55 per cent a far cry from the planned target.
Aremu, a labour representative on the National Wages and Salaries Commission, said the key to sustainable development has improved labour productivity in both public and private sectors, which could only happen with motivated pay and quality pensions.
He advised the Federal Government to address the crises of compensation in all sectors, notably education, and setlle with unions, such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, which is on strike, by paying all outstanding allowances and ensure service delivery on the part of the workforce.
“Nigeria’s economic recovery is elusive, with constant avoidable work stoppages and loss of man hours in an economy trying to exit recession,” Aremu added.
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom
Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.
The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.
Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.
Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.
“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.
“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.
“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.
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