- Minimum Wage: Labour Orders Nationwide Strike
The Nigeria Labour Congress has directed all its members and affiliate unions to commence a nationwide strike on Thursday (today).
The organised labour had held a meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in Abuja on Wednesday, which did not produce the expected outcome.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the industrial action would commence due to the refusal of the Federal Government to reconvene the meeting of the tripartite national minimum wage committee to enable it to conclude its work.
He said, “In compliance with this mandate, all workers and private sector at all levels across the country have been directed to comply.
“All public and private institutions, offices, banks, schools, public and private business premises, including filling station, are to remain shut till further notice,” Wabba said at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
The workers are demanding a new minimum wage of about N50,000 from the current national minimum wage of N18,000.
Tripartite committee resumes October 4
However, Ngige told journalists after a meeting with labour leaders that the tripartite committee on national minimum wage would resume negotiations on October 4.
“We are resuming precisely on Thursday, October 4, and the meeting can spill over to October 5. All the processes have been put in place and labour leaders know; they are now expected to communicate such to their organs; so we don’t have any need for a strike,” he said.
Asked if the government team had concluded its consultation on the minimum wage with governors, Ngige said it would be done when the tripartite committee resumed, adding that the government was still consulting with other stakeholders.
He said, “Part of our consultation means the economic management team would have something to work on. Already, they are working on it, the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission is working on it and it is expected that before the October meeting, they would have been through with work.”
Ngige said a bill would still have to go through the National Assembly after approval by the Federal Executive Council.
But Wabba said the unions had to brief their organs before calling off the strike.
He said, “Our demand is that the tripartite negotiating council should be brought back to complete its assignment. He has given us an update and we are taking back the discussion we had with him.”
But the NLC Secretary-General, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, told one of our correspondents that the strike would proceed as planned,
He asked, “Have we said anything to the contrary?”
NUPENG, COEASU, JUSUN workers to join strike
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria said it would join the strike as long as its labour centre – the Trade Union Congress – was involved.
The spokesman for the organisation, Mr Babatunde Oke, said, “We are going to be part of it. As long as our labour centre is involved, we are also involved. We are going to take part in the strike if TUC so directs us.”
Also, the national leadership of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria directed its members to join the warning strike.
The President of JUSUN, Mr Marwan Adamu, said in a statement on Wednesday that “effective from midnight on Wednesday” all courts in the country must remain closed pending a counter instruction from the national secretariat of the union.”
On its part, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union said that it would embark on the warning strike in solidarity with the NLC.
The COEASU National President, Nuhu Ogirima, said, “The academic union will join the strike because it has become evident that dialogue and diplomacy would not make the government change its stance.
He said, “It is also expedient to take this action against the crass insensitivity of governments at both state and federal levels to the plight of the colleges of education.”
ASUU to consult with leadership
But the Academic Staff Union of Universities said it would consult with its leadership and trustees before joining the strike.
The ASUU National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, told one of our correspondents on the telephone on Wednesday that he could not decide without an approval from the ASUU executives and trustees.
Ogunyemi said, “We are part of the NLC. We are an affiliate of the NLC. But we are waiting for the final decision and we are consulting. I am also consulting with the ASUU leadership.”
But the Owerri Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Prof Uzo Onyebinama, during a press conference at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, on Wednesday said the union might join the strike.
‘Abia workers to comply’
In Abia State, the Chairman of the NLC, Chief Uchenna Obigwe directed federal and state government workers in the state to comply with the directive to embark on the strike.
Obigwe, while briefing journalists in Umuahia, said the NLC viewed the silence of the Federal Government to its demand for a new minimum wage as sabotage.
FG, NLC must consider national interests – SERAP
Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has warned that the nation’s economy would be negatively affected by the strike, urging the NLC and the Federal Government to consider the national interests.
The SERAP Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “In Nigeria, strikes are not an option; a strike will stop the economy and further impoverish Nigerians. What I seek is that the government should settle the minimum wage issue so that our economy can continue to operate at a full speed.
“The NLC should also consider the interests of the workers and of the nation and resolve this issue quickly.”
World Bank Lauds Kogi’s 2020 Financial Statement
The World Bank has heaped praise on the Government of Kogi State concerning the state’s audited financial statement for 2020. The financial institution was said to have described the financial report as a standard to look up to concerning transparency and accountability in the public sector.
In a statement which was dated November 21, 2021 it was said that the bank made the commendation in a letter which was sent to the Accountant General of the state.
As said in the statement, the letter which was taken by the Kogi State Accountant General on November 2025 was signed by Deborah Hannah Isser, the Task Team Leader of the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS), Nigeria Country Office, Western and Central African Region.
SFTAS is a $750 million programme which has been set up to reward states for meeting any or every one of the indicators which demonstrate improvements in fiscal transparency, sustainability and accountability.
The indicators, which are nine in number were a byproduct of the former Fiscal Sustainability Plan of the federal government where States would be rewarded for meeting up to 22 targets.
The World Bank had previously backed the federal government to give incentives to the states in order to properly execute the 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan, which has now gone under a revamp as the nine Disbursement Linked Indicators under SFTAS.
Some of the criteria on which judgement will be based on are: improvement in financial reporting and budget reliability, improved cash management, increased openness, citizen participation in the budget process, reduced revenue leakages through the execution of State Treasury Single Account (TSA), a strengthened Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, biometric registration and Bank Verification Number (BVN) used to reduce payroll fraud.
The World Bank commended the Kogi State government for preparing its audited financial statements in line with the basis of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
Nigeria’s Rigid Forex Policy Discouraging Investors, Fueling Inflation – World Bank
The World Bank has blamed the Central Bank of Nigeria’s rigid forex policy for the drop in Nigeria’s capital importation and rising inflation rate.
The bank disclosed in its November report, Nigeria Development Update.
Explaining modalities for its position, the World Bank stated that there had been constant pressure on the Nigerian Naira with the current forex policy, forcing the central bank to consistently increase its nominal official exchange rate in an effort to ease some of the pressure.
This, it blamed on the rigid foreign exchange management system of the Central Bank of Nigeria, saying the system has also been responsible for the rising inflation rate in Nigeria.
The report read in part, “The government’s exchange rate management policies continue to discourage investment and fuel inflation. Exchange rate stability is a key CBN policy objective, and to preserve its external reserves the CBN continues to manage FX demand and limit the supply of FX to the market.
“Pressure on the naira remains intense, and while the CBN has raised the nominal official exchange rate three times since the start of the pandemic (by 15 per cent in March 2020, five per cent in August 2020, and seven per cent in May 2021), FX management remains too rigid to respond to external shocks. Meanwhile, exchange-rate management has emerged as one of the key drivers of inflation.”
The World Bank further stated that the central bank foreign exchange system needs to be more flexible to withstand external shocks, especially given Nigeria’s mono-product nature. It added that the NAFEX rate does not reflect the true market rate but the central bank managed rate.
It read in part, “While the CBN supplied an average of $2.5bn to the Investors and Exporters forex window in the months just prior to the COVID-19 crisis, it only supplied an average of $0.5bn in the months thereafter.
“The NAFEX rate, which is now the guiding exchange rate for the economy, continues to be managed and is not fully reflective of market conditions. The parallel market premium over the NAFEX rate reached 29 per cent in August 2021 after the CBN cut off its weekly supply of $20,000 per bureau de change. The CBN has intermittently supplied forex to BDCs since 2005, providing ample opportunities for currency round-tripping.”
The institution however advised that Nigeria adopt a more predictable, transparent and flexible foreign exchange management system in order to attract and sustain private investment flows.
Nigeria’s Non-oil Revenue Now N1.15 Trillion – Minister of Finance
Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, has said that Nigeria’s non-oil revenue is now N1.15 trillion, representing 15.7 percent above the country’s target. This, she claimed, was a result of the federal government’s efforts at diversifying the nation’s economy.
Mrs. Ahmed disclosed this at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2021 Annual Directors Conference which was held on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the event with the theme: “Creating the Future: Deepening the Corporate Governance Practice through Multi-Sectoral and Multi-Generational Collaborations,” was meant to discuss economic development.
Mrs Ahmed added that the recent development was in line with President’s commitment to further diversifying the Nigerian economy which is heavily dependent on oil. She observed that Nigeria was showing resilience in recovery from recession from coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which intensely affected global economies.
The minister said the federal government alongside the private sector had implemented a wide range of monetary measures to stimulate economic recovery, growth and development, job creation and improved standards of living.
She also explained that the government was doing everything to improve and diversify Nigeria’s revenue generation.
“Nigeria was quickly able to exit recession and is on her way to path of sustainable growth and we are intensifying efforts to grow and diversify our revenue sources to grow revenue from the current 8 per cent.”
“Our non-oil revenues have grown to N1.15 trillion, representing 15.7 per cent above set target. We are working on the 2021 finance bill and it’s nearing completion. Also, the recent approval of the medium-term national development plan is an important milestone of Buhari’s commitment to delivering sustainable growth and we require strong support and monitoring during implementation,” she said.
Mrs Ahmed reinforced the government’s decision to do something about infrastructure and reduce the cost of production for businesses in the country.
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