- FAAN’s N100m Debt Leaves Airport Workers Without Salaries
Workers, who clean the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, complained again on Wednesday of not being paid their salaries despite promises by the concessionaire they work for and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
After an exclusive report on December 26, 2018, it was learnt that the workers, who were owed salaries for about five months at that time, got payments for two months by the concessionaire in charge of cleaning services at the NAIA – Lakewood Nigeria Limited.
Officials at Lakewood, however, told our correspondent that the part payment was done in order to ameliorate the plights of the workers, adding that the salaries were not paid completely because FAAN had failed to clear its over N100m debt to the concessionaire.
One of the affected employees said, “They (concessionaire) only paid for two months. Three months’ salaries have not been paid. We’ve not been paid October, November and December salaries. What they paid was for August and September and I want you to remember that the outstanding for the month of July has not been paid as well.
“We were told that the payment for July will come but we didn’t see it when we got payments for August and September. Right now, many of us have nothing to feed with. This is one of the busiest international airports in Nigeria and it is unfair for FAAN and Lakewood to be exposing us to unnecessary risks through the non-payment of salaries.”
But the concessionaire argued that FAAN had not been forthcoming in terms of payment for the services rendered to it at the airport by Lakewood.
A senior official of the firm stated that the airport authority owed Lakewood about N120m and that this had impacted negatively on the finances of the concessionaire and its ability to pay salaries, despite efforts being made.
The official, who pleaded not to be named in order not to be victimised, said, “We’ve been very calm with FAAN because they are our client but they’ve been owing us for several months and when they want to pay they will pay for just one or two months and say that they have paid us.
“When we complain, they will say they don’t have money, that they want to pay pensioners and come up with other excuses. They always come up with different stories. We’ve written to them, asking them to do what is right because they owe us over N100m.”
The official added, “We manage their four different airports and we’ve been delivering professional services. When they argue that they’ve paid, how much did they pay and how much do they owe? FAAN owes us over N120m. For out of about N140m, they paid N20m; is that enough to say that you’ve paid us?”
When contacted, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, earlier told our correspondent that the authority had paid the concessionaire.
But when told that the concessionaire said Lakewood was only paid about N20m by FAAN out of about N140m owed by the authority, Yakubu replied, “I don’t have that information now. I’ll have to speak with the accounts department on this, for as I initially told you, we’ve been able to pay some money to the concessionaire.”
Last month, media reported that the workers stated that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ought to intervene in the matter as the concessionaire in question works for FAAN at the Abuja airport.
Once Again The National Grid Collapsed
Nigeria’s electricity transmission system, also known as the National grid, has suffered another system collapse, plunging Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, Kano and other major cities into a blackout.
The collapse, which occurred about 11.00 am on Tuesday, was confirmed by two of the country’s electricity distribution companies in separate messages to their customers.
“We regret to inform you that the power outage being experienced across our franchise – Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states – is as a result of the collapse of the national grid,” Kaduna Electric said on Twitter.
Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc, in a text message to its customers, said: “Dear customer, there is a partial system collapse on the national grid. Our TCN partners are working to restore supply immediately. Please bear with us.”
The grid, which is being managed by the government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences.
Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages.
FG Consider Diversification To Generate Revenue
As revenue from oil nosedives following incessant global price fluctuations, the Federal Government is now channeling efforts to the development of minerals in the mines and steel industry to shore up foreign exchange earnings.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said on Wednesday that while there had been concerted efforts to develop various minerals in the sector, much emphasis had been placed recently on the development of bitumen, barite and gold.
They told our correspondent in Abuja that the government through the mines and steel ministry was striving to diversify the Nigerian economy away from oil as the major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.
They also confirmed that large quantities of gold had been discovered in various locations in Zamfara and Osun states.
Asked if the government had initiated programmes to explore the minerals and boost revenues now that the country’s income had plunged, the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Ayodeji Adeyemi, replied in the affirmative.
He said, “Indeed, the ministry has the mandate to generate revenue and diversify the economy through the mines sector.
“And bitumen is one of the key resources which the nation is abundantly endowed with, that has been identified for strategic development.”
To buttress his position, Adeyemi shared some recent presentations of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, where the minister said his ministry was gathering data on some bitumen fields across the country to attract investors.
“A lot of people are interested in bitumen, which is coming from both local and foreign investors. However, we are still acquiring data in some of the fields,” the minister stated.
On barite, the minister said the mines and steel ministry was working on raising the quality of barite produced in Nigeria to an internationally acceptable standard, as certified by the American Petroleum Institute.
Adegbite said his ministry had contracted a consultant to help raise the standard in the local production of barite to ensure that oil industry players make use of barite produced in Nigeria as against importing the commodity from other countries.
He said, “Barite is a critical weighting material in drilling fluids used in the oil industry. We have a lot of barites but the issue is that it is not produced to API standards. However, we are putting a system in place which would be ready to launch in about July.
“We have got the millers who can produce barite to API standard. Hence we will be able to compete with foreigners and it would save Nigeria a lot of foreign exchange in import substitution.”
On the development of gold, officials at the ministry further stated that the commodity had been aggregated for the production of bullion bars and that this was the first time that such aggregation was happening in Nigeria.
They stated that the gold was sourced from artisanal miners, while the final refining to bullion was done in Turkey.
The sources stated that the ministry had registered two refineries that would now refine to LBMA standard when they come on stream. LBMA is the de facto standard, trusted around the world.
Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Generates N160.06 Billion in 2020
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) generated revenue of N160.06 billion in 2020, according to the latest audited financial reports announced by the Managing Director of NSIA Mr. Uche Orji.
The NSIA income came from devaluation gain of N51 billion, and core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019.
But Orji lamented: “Covid-19 adversely affected logistics around infrastructure projects, especially the toll road projects and the presidential fertiliser initiative.”
Despite the pandemic, the Authority achieved 33 percent growth in Net Assets to N772.75 billion compared to the previous year’s performance of N579.54 billion.
Orji said the NSIA “received additional contribution of $250 million; and provided first stabilisation support to the Federal Government of $150 million withdrawn from Stabilisation Fund last year.”
The same year, the NSIA received $311 million from funds recovered from the late General Abacha from the United States Department of Justice and Island of Jersey for deployment towards the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) projects of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway, Lagos Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge.
In response to COVID-19, Orji said: “NSIA partnered the global Citizen, a not-for profit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund. Separately NSIA acquired and distributed oxygen concentrators to the 21-teaching hospital as part of corporate social responsibility; in addition to staffing support to the Presidential taskforce on COVID-19.”
In 2020, the NSIA “invested additional capital into NG Clearing, the first derivative clearing house in Nigeria to maintain NSIA’s shareholding at 16.5 per cent following the company’s rights issue of 2020″ Orji said.
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