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Paris Club Refund: Strike, Protests Loom in States Over Unpaid Salary Arrears

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  • Paris Club Refund: Strike, Protests Loom in States Over Unpaid Salary Arrears

There are indications that workers in some states in the country will soon embark on demonstrations or strike action over unpaid salary arrears in their respective states.

A trustee of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Mr. Fatai Ibrahim, on Friday said NULGE would engage in demonstrations, work to rule and even strike action in states where the governors failed to remit to the local governments their share of the expected last tranche of the Paris Club refund.

Speaking in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, during a media briefing by the state branch of NULGE, Ibrahim added that the union would engage governors of the states that fail to remit the funds to the local government, adding that where the engagements, negotiations and dialogue fail, the union would embark on strike action to get the governors accede to the workers’ demands.

Also, the state Chairman of NULGE, Alhaji Salihu Yusuf, has urged Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to ensure that the share of the local governments was paid to them when the state gets the final tranche of the Paris Club refund. He also stressed that the payment of some of the arrears being owed them would greatly alleviate their plight.

He said, “The Kwara State Governor has been saying that local governments will not benefit from the expected Paris Club refund and that we should not be expecting that arrears of salaries being owed workers in various local governments across the state would be paid from the Paris Club refunds.

“Other states are declaring certain percentages in favour of their local governments, why should Kwara State be an exception?”

He also urged the state House of Assembly to vote in favour of local government autonomy to create genuine development at the grass roots, adding that the governor should not wait until all LG workers were dead due to poverty and hardship before he came to their aid.

He also said the payment of junior secondary school teachers’ salaries from the local government allocation through the Joint Account Allocation Committee was responsible for the about 10 months’ arrears of salaries in local governments, adding that the local governments should be freed from that burden.

But the governor, while responding, said the state had accessed 50 per cent of the refund, adding that arrangement was on to end salary crisis in the 16 local government areas of the state.

He said he had met with the local government chairmen with the aim of identifying their problems and finding possible solutions to them.

He said, “What we are doing is to find a permanent solution to the problem. Giving them funds to clear the backlog of salaries is not the solution, but to find the means of improving their revenue base because of the continued drop in federal allocation.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Teachers in Kwara State has given the state government an ultimatum to address some lingering labour issues in the state before December 31, 2017, or else the union would not guarantee the resumption of teachers when schools resume on January 8, 2018.

The teachers, in a communiqué after the meeting of the state executive council, on Friday, stated that the labour issues bordered mainly on the payment of salary arrears, the position of the state government not to use the Paris Club refund to offset the salary arrears of its members as earlier pledged, allegedly, at different forums and refusal to implement promotion arrears with its attendant financial backing from 2015 till date.

The communiqué, signed by the state NUT Chairman, Alhaji Musa Abubakar, and the state NUT Secretary, Mr. Ola Idris, partly read, “In view of these, the House resolved that these issues must immediately be addressed before the end of 2017, otherwise, the union cannot guarantee resumption of our members on January 8, 2018.

But the state government has urged the teachers to embrace dialogue, adding that strike was never a good way to address industrial issues.

The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Babatunde Ajeigbe, in an interview with journalists, stated that the governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, was deeply concerned and committed to the welfare of the residents of the state, including teachers, saying the outstanding payment due to the drop in federal allocation.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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