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Economy

New Minimum Wage: We’re Still Struggling to Pay N18,000, Govs Lament

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  • New Minimum Wage: We’re Still Struggling to Pay N18,000, Govs Lament

State governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum have said they are struggling to pay the current minimum wage of N18,000.

Although they said they were not against the upward review of the minimum wage, they said the ability of states to pay must be considered.

Chairman of the Forum, who is also the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, said this while briefing journalists after the meeting of the governors held in Abuja on Wednesday night.

The National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, was also at the meeting.

Yari said, “The problem of the states is the capacity to pay what is agreed. As we are talking today, we are struggling with N18,000. Some of the states are paying 35 per cent, some 50 per cent and still some states have salary arrears.

“So, it is not about only reviewing it but how we are going to get the resources to cater for it.”

Yari added that Wabba was invited to brief the forum on states performance in the use of London and Paris Club refunds.

The Federal Government disbursed the fund to states, urging them to use a larger percentage of the money to pay workers’ salaries.

He said, “So, we invited the National President of NLC to give us details on how some states performed. So they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the NLC at the national level and their representatives in states on when they are going to overcome the issue of salary arrears.

“That has been done and it has been taken to the Central Bank governor to ensure that those states are also paid.”

Some of the governors present at the meeting were the newly sworn-in Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi; and his counterparts from Kebbi, Kaduna, Lagos, Benue, Niger, Adamawa, Plateau, and Kogi states.

…Minimum wage must be reviewed, says NLC boss

The NLC boss however insisted the minimum wage must be reviewed.

He said, “What we are telling the governors is that the review of the national minimum wage is due and that everybody must be committed to it.

“When the committee started its assignment, we wrote individually to all the state governors and 21 states responded in writing.

“Some quoted figures while some said that whatever was agreed on they are going to pay; some had made statements even recently to say that they are going to pay.

“So for anybody to come under any platform and say that they take issue with that, I think the best thing is to go back to your state, call your workers together and say I will not be able to pay.

That I think is honourable and should be done.”

Wabba said he had spoken to the Governors’ Forum not to see salaries as a bonus but legitimate earnings of workers who provide critical services to the economy and other sectors.

He added, “You cannot continue to refer to workers as tiny minority; No! it is this tiny minority that services the entire population.

“If the quest of the government is to provide quality education, then you must use the teacher.”

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

Manufacturing Firms Borrowed N570bn from Banks in 2020 – CBN

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Steel Manufacture At Evraz Plc West-Siberian Metallurgical Plant

Manufacturing firms borrowed a total of N570bn from Nigerian banks last year amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Banks’ credit to the manufacturing sector rose to N3.19tn as of December 2020 from N2.62tn at the end of 2019, according to the sectoral analysis of banks’ credit by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The sector received the second biggest share of the credit from the banks after the oil and gas sector, which got N5.18tn as of December.

“The manufacturing sector, which is the engine of sustainable growth, is still struggling with the debilitating impact of the pandemic and is yet to recuperate,” the Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said in January.

MAN, in a January report, revealed that most manufacturers said commercial banks’ lending rates were discouraging productivity in the sector.

The report said 71 per cent of Chief Executive Officers interviewed “disagreed that the rate at which commercial banks lend to manufacturers encourages productivity in the sector.”

It said the cost of borrowing in the country remained at double digits even amidst the reforms meant to culminate in lower rates to engender the country’s economic recovery process.

The report said, “Special single digit loans offered by development banks are still hard to leverage as conditionalities to assess the loans through commercial banks are often overwhelming and laden with additional charges that will eventually make the interest rate double digit.

“Seven per cent of respondents were, however, of the opinion that the rate at which commercial banks lend to manufacturers encourages productivity in the sector while the remaining 22 per cent were not sure of the impact of the rate of lending on productivity in the manufacturing sector.”

The report showed that 64 per cent of respondent disagreed that the size of commercial bank loan to manufacturing sector had encouraged manufacturing productivity.

It said the very high presence of the government in the money market, particularly through the sale of treasury bills, had been crowding out the private sector from the market.

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Economy

Nigeria Earns Extra N318.4 Billion as Crude Oil Hits $67/Barrel

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Buhari

FG Generates Additional Income of N318.4 Billion as Crude Oil Hits $67/Barrel

The Federal Government earned an additional N318.36 billion in February following the surge in crude oil price above $60 per barrel.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, average $60 throughout the month of February.

In March, it rose to $67 per barrel.

According to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s crude oil price was retained at $40 per barrel for 2021.

However, she said the nation is presently producing below its 2.5 million barrel per day capacity at 1.7mbpd. This, she said includes 300,000bpd condensates.

“Although Nigeria’s total production capacity is 2.5mbpd, current crude production is about 1.7mbpd, including about 300,000bpd of condensates, which indicates compliance with OPEC quota,” the finance minister stated.

Going by the number, Nigeria is producing 1.4mbpd of crude oil without condensates, but with an additional $20 revenue when compared to the $40 per barrel benchmark for the year. It means the Federal Government realised an additional income of N318.360 billion or $20 X 1.4mbpd X 30days in the month of February.

Crude oil jumped to $68.54 per barrel on Friday following OPEC+’s decision to role-over production cuts.

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Economy

Nigeria, Morocco sign MOUs on Hydrocarbons, Others

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The Federal Government and the Kingdom of Morocco have signed five strategic Memoranda of Understanding that will foster Nigerian-Morocco bilateral collaboration and promote the development of hydrocarbons, agriculture, and commerce in both countries.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, led the Nigerian delegation to the agreement signing ceremony on Tuesday at Marrakech, Morocco, while the Chief Executive Officer of OCP Africa, Mr Anouar Jamali, signed for the Kingdom of Morocco, according to a statement by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.

Under the agreement between OCP, NSIA and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria will import phosphate from the Kingdom of Morocco and use it to produce blended fertiliser for the local market and export.

The statement said Nigeria would also produce ammonia and export to Morocco.

“As part of the project, the Nigerian Government plans to establish an ammonia plant at Akwa Ibom State,” it said.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, were part of the delegation and they confirmed that their organisations would take equity in the ammonia plant when the Final Investment Decision would be taken, the statement said.

Sylva said the project would broaden economic opportunities for the two nations and improve the wellbeing of the people.

He added that the project would also positively impact agriculture, stimulate the growth of gas-based industries and lead to massive job creation.

He said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and it agencies and other government agencies to give maximum support for the project.

“He mandated me to ensure that at least the first phase of this project is commissioned before the expiration of his second term in office in 2023,” he added.

According to the statement, the MOUs were for the support of the second phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative; Shareholders Agreement for the creation of the joint venture company to develop the multipurpose industrial platform and MOU for equity investment by the NNPC in the joint venture and support of the gas.

Other agreements are term sheet for gas sales and aggregation agreement and MOU for land acquisition and administrative facilitation to the establishment of the multipurpose industrial platform for gas sales and aggregation agreement.

The NCDMB boss described the bilateral agreement as significant to the Nigerian economy as it would accelerate Nigeria’s gas monetisation programme through establishment of the ammonia plant in the country.

The agreement would also improve Nigeria’s per capita fertiliser application through importation of phosphate derivatives from Morocco, he added.

Wabote challenged the relevant parties to focus on accelerating the FID, assuring them that the NCDMB would take equity investment for long-term sustainability of the project.

He canvassed for the setting up of a project management oversight structure to ensure project requirements and timelines are met.

“There is also need to determine manpower needs for construction and operations phase of the project and develop training programmes that will create the workforce pool from Nigeria and Morocco and design collaboration framework between research centres in Nigeria and Morocco to develop technology solutions for maintaining the ISBL and OSBL units of the Ammonia complex,” he said.

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