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Minimum Wage: Slow Pace of Negotiations Worries Labour

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  • Minimum Wage: Slow Pace of Negotiations Worries Labour

Organised labour has decried the slow pace of negotiations over the new national minimum wage, calling on workers to be alert as the road to the minimum wage may not be smooth.

The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Comrade Benjamin Anthony, expressed workers’ discontentment at the slow pace of work on the issue of minimum wage.

Anthony said the workers were waiting for the government’s pronouncement on the new minimum wage, adding that workers had been short-changed for the past two years, based on the law on minimum wage.

He said: “We observed with great discontentment the slow pace of work on the new national minimum wage. The current minimum wage law came into effect in 2011 and it was designed for review every five years.

“By implication, another minimum wage ought to have been signed into law since 2016. That is to say that Nigerian workers have been denied the fruit of their labour for the past two years.

“As we patiently await the pronouncement of the new minimum wage at the third quarter of the year as announced by the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, during the just-concluded 40th anniversary of the Nigeria Labour Congress. I implore workers to be at alert as the road to the minimum wage might not be smooth.

The labour leader called on workers to resist the deceit of political class that resources were not enough to pay minimum wage considering the wide gap that exist between the salaries of political office holders and the toiling workers that produce the wealth of the nation.

He said workers would no longer accept N18, 000 minimum wage when a Senator collects N13.5 million monthly as running cost.

Also, the AUPCTRE FCT Chapter Acting Chairman, Comrade Aliyu Maradun said: “Someone sitting somewhere (Senator) cannot be collecting N13.5 million incentive in a month, and you pay a miserable N18, 000 to a worker in a month. It is unacceptable, it is not possible and it is not going to work.”

“On the strength of the above, permit me to state, with every seriousness, that the primary objective of our union is to defend the economic interest of our members through diligent negotiations, dialogue, collective bargaining, trade dispute, protest, rallies and strikes.”

Maradun said trade union is an integral part of the society and has become an important part of the economic fabric of Nigeria, recognised and consulted by employers of labour and governments.

Nigerian Civil Service Union President, Comrade Kiri Mohammed, said the new demand reflected inflation and other economic realities.

He said: “We submitted our request, NLC has decided to look at the figure and modify it; we actually modified it, an upward review above N56,000, but I am not going to tell you how much because the president (Ayuba Wabba) is supposed to say it.

“We have submitted it to the secretariat of the tripartite committee. The review is in conjunction with the Trade Union Congress (TUC). You can’t do it alone. All of us met and decided to put heads together and look at the realities on the ground.”

Kiri expressed confidence that the minimum wage bill would be passed by the National Assembly and implemented by the Federal Government this year.

He asked: “Who made the budget?” adding: “I believe if the government is serious, we can finish this matter towards the middle of this year, June, July.

“If we can finish at that time, then before the end of the year, certainly the President must send whatever we agreed on to the National Assembly for them to look at it and for him to assent to it as a law, but I know that once we agreed, government would implement whatever is agreed.”

Wabba has also warned those he accused of working against the realisation of the new minimum wage within government so also that labour would resist their antics.

He vowed to resist any attempt to slowdown the review of the national minimum wage. “Let us use this medium to serve notice to those who seek to slow down or frustrate the process of review that they will be resisted in like manner as our predecessors did.

“We are prepared to deal with employers, especially governors, who deny workers and pensioners their salaries and pension. Workers and their families would not give them any further political support, especially their votes,” Wabba warned.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government, through the Minister, has assured workers of the introduction of a new minimum wage latest by the third quarter of the year.

The Minister, who gave the assurance recently, added that implementation of the new pay would take effect immediately after the announcement.

He added that the government was already receiving memoranda from relevant bodies and persons to enable the determination of the new minimum wage.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Gold

Gold Steadies After Initial Gains on Reports of Israel’s Strikes in Iran

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Gold, often viewed as a haven during times of geopolitical uncertainty, exhibited a characteristic surge in response to reports of Israel’s alleged strikes in Iran, only to stabilize later as tensions simmered.

The yellow metal’s initial rally came on the heels of escalating tensions in the Middle East, with concerns mounting over a potential wider conflict.

Spot gold soared as much as 1.6% in early trading as news circulated regarding Israel’s purported strikes on targets in Iran.

This surge, reaching a high of $2,400 a ton, reflected the nervousness pervading global markets amidst the saber-rattling between the two nations.

However, as the day progressed, media reports from both countries appeared to downplay the impact and severity of the alleged strikes, contributing to a moderation in gold’s gains.

Analysts noted that while the initial spike was fueled by fears of heightened conflict, subsequent assessments suggesting a less severe outcome helped calm investor nerves, leading to a stabilization in gold prices.

Traders had been bracing for a potential Israeli response following Iran’s missile and drone attack over the weekend, raising concerns about a retaliatory spiral between the two adversaries.

Reports of an explosion in Iran’s central city of Isfahan further added to the atmosphere of uncertainty, prompting flight suspensions and exacerbating market jitters.

In addition to geopolitical tensions, gold’s rally in recent months has been underpinned by other factors, including expectations of US interest rate cuts, sustained central bank buying, and robust consumer demand, particularly in China.

Despite the initial surge followed by stabilization, gold remains sensitive to developments in the Middle East and broader geopolitical dynamics.

Investors continue to monitor the situation closely for any signs of escalation or de-escalation, recognizing gold’s role as a traditional safe haven in times of uncertainty.

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Commodities

Global Cocoa Prices Surge to Record Levels, Processing Remains Steady

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Cocoa futures in New York have reached a historic pinnacle with the most-active contract hitting an all-time high of $11,578 a metric ton in early trading on Friday.

This surge comes amidst a backdrop of challenges in the cocoa industry, including supply chain disruptions, adverse weather conditions, and rising production costs.

Despite these hurdles, the pace of processing in chocolate factories has remained constant, providing a glimmer of hope for chocolate lovers worldwide.

Data released after market close on Thursday revealed that cocoa processing, known as “grinds,” was up in North America during the first quarter, appreciating by 4% compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, processing in Europe only saw a modest decline of about 2%, and Asia experienced a slight decrease.

These processing figures are particularly noteworthy given the current landscape of cocoa prices. Since the beginning of 2024, cocoa futures have more than doubled, reflecting the immense pressure on the cocoa market.

Yet, despite these soaring prices, chocolate manufacturers have managed to maintain their production levels, indicating resilience in the face of adversity.

The surge in cocoa prices can be attributed to a variety of factors, including supply shortages caused by adverse weather conditions in key cocoa-producing regions such as West Africa.

Also, rising demand for chocolate products, particularly premium and artisanal varieties, has contributed to the upward pressure on prices.

While the spike in cocoa prices presents challenges for chocolate manufacturers and consumers alike, industry experts remain cautiously optimistic about the resilience of the cocoa market.

Despite the record-breaking prices, the steady pace of cocoa processing suggests that chocolate lovers can still expect to indulge in their favorite treats, albeit at a higher cost.

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Crude Oil

Dangote Refinery Leverages Cheaper US Oil Imports to Boost Production

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Crude Oil

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is capitalizing on the availability of cheaper oil imports from the United States.

Recent reports indicate that the refinery with a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day has begun leveraging US-grade oil to power its operations in Nigeria.

According to insights from industry analysts, the refinery has commenced shipping various products, including jet fuel, gasoil, and naphtha, as it gradually ramps up its production capacity.

The utilization of US oil imports, particularly the WTI Midland grade, has provided Dangote Refinery with a cost-effective solution for its feedstock requirements.

Experts anticipate that the refinery’s gasoline-focused units, expected to come online in the summer months will further bolster its influence in the Atlantic Basin gasoline markets.

Alan Gelder, Vice President of Refining, Chemicals, and Oil Markets at Wood Mackenzie, noted that Dangote’s entry into the gasoline market is poised to reshape the West African gasoline supply dynamics.

Despite operating at approximately half its nameplate capacity, Dangote Refinery’s impact on regional fuel markets is already being felt. The refinery’s recent announcement of a reduction in diesel prices from N1,200/litre to N1,000/litre has generated excitement within Nigeria’s downstream oil sector.

This move is expected to positively affect various sectors of the economy and contribute to reducing the country’s high inflation rate.

Furthermore, the refinery’s utilization of US oil imports shows its commitment to exploring cost-effective solutions while striving to meet Nigeria’s domestic fuel demand. As the refinery continues to optimize its production processes, it is poised to play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s energy landscape and contribute to the country’s quest for self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products.

Moreover, the Nigerian government’s recent directive to compel oil producers to prioritize domestic refineries for crude supply aligns with Dangote Refinery’s objectives of reducing reliance on imported refined products.

With the flexibility to purchase crude using either the local currency or the US dollar, the refinery is well-positioned to capitalize on these policy reforms and further enhance its operational efficiency.

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