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Minimum Wage: Labour Orders Nationwide Strike

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  • 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.”

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.

Economy

Stop Maize, Soybean Export to Reduce Scarcity – NIAL

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Stop Maize, Soybean Export to Reduce Scarcity – NIAL

The Nigerian Institute of Animal Science on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to halt the continued export of maize and soybean to reduce the scarcity of the commodities as well curb their price hike in Nigeria.

Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, NIAL, Prof. Eustance Iyayi, told journalists in Abuja that the poultry sector was currently hit by the severe scarcity of maize and soybean.

This, he said, was due to the continued export of the commodities, the COVID-19 pandemic, which had disorganised the international supply chain, lingering insecurity in the North-East, farmers/herders conflict and flooding in some parts of the country.

“Maize and soybean are being exported and this has exacerbated the situation leading to local scarcity and price escalation of the commodities in poultry production,” Iyayi stated.

He added, “The increasing prices of the essential commodities has resulted in the increase in price of finished feeds by about 75 per cent.

“This has led to the closure of small and medium sized poultry farms thereby threatening about 10 million jobs as a result of this scarcity.

“To set the poultry industry from total collapse, the institute urges the government to immediately halt the exportation of soybean and maize and grant import permit to importers at the official foreign exchange rate.”

Iyayi said there was shortage of soybean in Nigeria and other countries, stressing that the little amount being produced across the country should not be exported.

He said the current maize yield of about one to two tonnes per hectare being produced in Nigeria would not be enough to sustain the country.

The NIAL helmsman stated that the country should be producing between seven and 10 tonnes per hectare in order to meet the requirements for humans and animals.

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Economy

Petrol Landing Cost Jumps to N186, Oil Hits $64

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Petrol Landing Cost Jumps to N186, Oil Hits $64

Against the backdrop of the rising price of oil prices, the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) imported into Nigeria has increased to N186.33 per litre.

Investors King had exclusively reported on February 9 that the landing cost of PMS rose to about N180 per litre on February 5 from N158.53 per litre on January 7.

Crude oil price accounts for a large chunk of the final cost of petrol, and the deregulation of petrol price by the Federal Government last year means that the pump price of the product will reflect changes in the international oil market.

Going by the petrol pricing template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the landing cost of petrol rose to N186.33 per litre on February 16, with the pump price of the product expected to be N209.33 per litre.

The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, closed at $63.96 per barrel on February 16, up from $59.34 per barrel on February 5.

The rising price of crude oil pushed the cost of petrol quoted on Platts to $560.75 per metric tonne (N163.08 per litre, using N390/$1) on February 16 from $543.25 per metric tonne (N157.99 per litre) on February 5.

Other cost elements that make up the landing cost include freight (N10.29), lightering expenses (N4.57), insurance cost (N0.25), Nigerian Ports Authority charge (N2.38), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency charge (N0.23), jetty throughput charge (N1.61), storage charge (N2.58), and financing (N1.33).

The freight cost increased to $35.41 per MT (N10.29 per litre) last Wednesday from $30.04 per MT (N8.74 per litre) on February 5.

The pump price is the sum of the landing cost, wholesale margin and the distribution margins. The wholesale margin is N4.03 while the distribution margins comprise transporters allowance (N3.89), retailer (N6.19), bridging fund (N7.51), marine transport average (N0.15), and admin charge (N1.23).

Apart from the changes in global crude oil prices, the exchange rate of naira to the dollar also affects the cost of imported petrol.

The cost of petrol would be higher if the 410/$1 rate at which the naira closed on Monday at the Investors’ and Exporters’ Foreign Exchange Window was used. The naira closed at 480/$1 at the parallel market.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which has been the sole importer of petrol into the country in recent years, is still being relied upon by marketers for the supply of the product despite the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector.

Oil marketers said recently that they were ready to resume importation of petrol if the foreign exchange was made available to them at a competitive rate.

“The discussion we should be having today is how best to maximise the benefits of the removal of price controls and subsidies while minimising the adverse effects of this action on our citizens,” the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, said at a virtual press briefing.

Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, rose by $1.67 to $64.58 per barrel as of 6:08pm Nigerian time on Monday.

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Economy

FG to Lift 100 Million People Out of Poverty With Gas Expansion Project

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FG to Lift 100 Million People Out of Poverty With Gas Expansion Project

The Federal Government has said about 100 million Nigerians will be lifted out of poverty through the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP).

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, disclosed this on Monday during the inauguration of the NGEP in Ado Ekiti, Southwest.

Sylva said the project was “a practical demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by using gas value chain as catalyst for social and economic development in Nigeria”.

The minister said, “The programme has its main objective to reinforce and expand gas supply as well as stimulate demand in Nigeria through effective and efficient mobilisation and utilisation of all available assets, resources and infrastructure in the country.

“The programme is geared towards the implementation of Mr President June 12, 2019 promise to take hundred million Nigerians out of poverty within the current decade by ensuring that locally produced, available, accessible and affordable fuel is sufficiently supplied across the country”.

Sylva added that Nigeria was richly endowed with mineral resources, specifically, hydrocarbons, crude oil and natural gas with proven gas reserves of over 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which he said had presented the country with opportunity to use gas as a catalyst for social economy renaissance.

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