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Minimum Wage: ASCSN Warns FG Against Disrupting Process

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Buhari in Port Harcourt
  • Minimum Wage: ASCSN Warns FG Against Disrupting Process

The Federal Government should not play politics with the N30, 000 benchmark agreed as the new national minimum wage for workers because the consequences would be very disastrous, the Association of Civil Servants of Nigeria warned on Tuesday.

The warning came barely a week after the submission of the report of the Ama Pepple-led tripartite committee to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The organisation also challenged the Presidency to ensure that the suspension of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, would be used as an opportunity to ease him out of the NHIS in order to bring peace and tranquility to the troubled agency.

“It is in an effort to restore due process in some of these organisations that the ASCSN had to wage a prolonged struggle against the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf, for trying to turn the scheme into a slave camp,” it said.

Speaking during the association’s National Executive Council meeting in Abuja, the National President, ASCSN, Bobboi Kaigama, said that despite repeated warnings, chief executives and directors-general had continued to run parastatals like slave camps.

According to him, the government should complete the entire process of national minimum wage before the end of 2018 so that workers who have waited for so long can begin to enjoy a new lease of life.

He said, “It is worthy of note that the single most important issue agitating the mind of an average Nigerian worker today is that of the new national minimum wage, the report of which was presented to Mr President on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

“It is apt to state that against all odds, the tripartite committee that negotiated the new minimum wage was able to scale all hurdles and agreed to the sum of N30, 000 as the new minimum wage for the country.

“It is on this premise that I strongly want to appeal to the Federal Government to fast-track the process of enacting the new national minimum wage into law. Our expectation is that the Federal Government should be able to complete the entire process before the end of this year, so that workers who have waited for so long can begin to enjoy a new lease of life provided by the newly agreed minimum wage.

“The Federal Government is advised to avoid any action that can delay or truncate the process of enacting the new Minimum Wage Act, as the consequences of allowing that to happen can be very devastating.

“The core civil service, which is the engine room of government, is regrettably the least paid in the public service since other segments thereof have had their emoluments beefed up over the years.”

The ASCSN also protested against what it described illegal recruitment and appointment of officers, including permanent secretaries, into the civil service, which it had been battling over the years.

Kaigama said, “This ill-advised policy by some state governments has been compounded by the Federal Government when it recruited persons from outside the civil service as permanent secretaries. This is apart from the illegal extension of tenure of certain permanent secretaries and officers who are supposed to have retired from service in line with the provisions of the Public Service Rules and extant circulars, including the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We raised a memorandum and presented same at the council meeting held in Abuja last month to demand that one of the permanent secretaries illegally recruited by the Federal Government and who is now 62 years old must be compelled to exit the service. However, we were prevailed upon to step down the matter because it was already being handled administratively.

“We, therefore, reiterate our call on the Federal Government to ensure that the permanent secretary in question and others who were illegally smuggled into the service should be encouraged to quietly retire in the interest of industrial peace and harmony in the public service.

“And on no account should people be recruited from outside the civil service as permanent secretaries because the practice does not only block the chances of senior civil servants from reaching the peak of their career, but also demoralises them.”

Speaking on corruption in the country, Kaigama said it remained one of the major challenges facing Nigeria as a nation.

“This hydra-headed monster continues to loom large in our country in spite of the initial steps taken to address the menace by the present administration. Corruption in Nigeria has now assumed a very big proportion that can be described as horrendous.

“The Nigerian political class should know that there is no way this country can be inspired to greatness if this beast is not decapitated and rooted out of our system before it leads to catastrophic consequences.

“The Federal Government is therefore advised to strengthen and reposition the anti-graft agencies such that diligent prosecution of corrupt officials, total recovery of looted funds and an end to the pillaging of public treasury can be guaranteed.”

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

Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

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power project

Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.

NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.

The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.

“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.

The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.

It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.

But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.

NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.

The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).

The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.

“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.

The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.

“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.

NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

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Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

Nigeria is moving in the right direction economically but its movement is not fast, the United Nations stated on Thursday.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, said this during a meeting at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja.

She said the challenges in Nigeria were huge, its population large but described the country’s economy as great with lots of opportunities.

The UN scribe stated that after traveling by train and through various roads in the Northern parts of Nigeria, she discovered that the roads were motorable, although there were ongoing repairs on some of them.

Mohammed said, “This is a country that is diverse in nature, ethnicity, religious backgrounds and opportunities. But these are its strengths, not weaknesses.

“And I think the narrative for Nigeria has to change to one that is very much the reality.”

Speaking on her trips across parts of Nigeria, she said, “What I saw along the way is really a country that is growing, that is moving in the right direction economically. Is it fast enough? No. Is it in the right direction? Yes it is.

“And the challenges still remain with security, our social cohesion and social contract between government and the people. But I know that people are working on these issues.”

She said the UN recognised the reforms in Nigeria and other nations, adding that the common global agenda was the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mohammad commended Nigeria’s quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as she expressed hope that the arrival of vaccines would be the beginning of the end of COVID-19.

On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, told his guest that the Federal Government was working hard to make Nigeria the entrepreneurial hub of Africa.

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Economy

N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

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petrol Oil

N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

Nigeria spent a total of N10.7tn on fuel subsidy in the last 10 years, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, has said.

Oyebanji, who was the guest speaker at the 18th Aret Adams Lecture on Thursday, said N750bn was spent on subsidy in 2019.

He highlighted the need for a transition to a market-driven environment through policy-backed legislative and commercial frameworks, enabling the sustainability of the downstream petroleum sector.

“Total deregulation is more than just the removal of price subsidies; it is aimed at improving business operations, increasing the investments in the oil and gas sector value chain, resulting in the growth in the nation’s downstream petroleum sector as a whole,” he said.

The managing director of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc) said steps had been taken, “but larger and faster leaps are now required.”

According to him, deregulation requires the creation of a competitive market environment, and will guarantee the supply of products at commercial and market prices.

“It requires unrestricted and profitable investments in infrastructure, earning reasonable returns to investors. It requires a strong regulator to enable transparency and fair competition among players, and not to regulate prices,” Oyebanji said.

He noted that MOMAN had recently called for a national debate by stakeholders to share pragmatic and realistic initiatives to ease the impact of the subsidy removal on society – especially on the most vulnerable.

He said, “A shift from crude oil production to crude oil full value realisation through deliberate investment in domestic refining and refined products distribution, creates the opportunity to transform the dynamics of the downstream sector from one of ‘net importer’ to one of ‘net exporter’, spurring the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Effective reforms and regulations are key drivers for the growth within the refining sector. Non-functional refineries cost Nigeria over $13bn in 2019. If the NNPC refineries were operating at optimal capacity, Nigeria would have imported only 40 per cent of what it consumed in 2019.”

Full deregulation of the downstream sector remains the most glaring boost to potential investors in this space, according to Oyebanji.

He said, “As crude oil prices will fluctuate depending on the prevailing exchange rates, it will be astute to trade in naira to avoid inevitable price swings.

“There needs to be a balance between ensuring the sustainable growth of the crude oil value chain (upstream through downstream) and providing value for the Nigerian consumer and the Nigerian economy.”

He said the philosophy should be for the government to put the legislative and commercial framework in place and let the market develop by itself.

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