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Minimum Wage: Workers Lobby Senators to Approve N30,000

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  • Minimum Wage: Workers Lobby Senators to Approve N30,000

Workers at the National Assembly, under the auspices of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, are lobbying members of the Senate especially those handling the New Minimum Wage Bill to approve N30,000 as passed by the House of Representatives.

Chairman of PASAN, National Assembly chapter, Mr Bature Muhammad, made this known in a chat with one of our correspondents on Monday, ahead of the senators’ resumption next week.

Media had reported last week Sunday that the resolution of the dispute over the national minimum wage was far from being over, following the decision by the House to pass N30,000 as the new wage.

The lower chamber of the National Assembly had on Wednesday passed the N30,000, an amount higher by N3,000 than the N27,000 which President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the National Assembly earlier in the executive bill.

However, the N30,000 tallied with the recommendation by the tripartite committee set up by the President on the minimum wage, which submitted its report in November, 2018.

But following a meeting of the National Council of State last month, the President eventually presented a minimum wage bill of N27,000 to the National Assembly.

The PASAN chairman informed our correspondent that the workers had been engaging with senators to see that they concur with the representatives on N30,000.

He said, “We have already started going underground to lobby the various committees and senators on that issue. Because of the election, not all of them are around but the few of them that are around, we have been able to talk to them; and those we are close to, we have called them on the phone. And they assured (us) that they don’t have a problem with that (N30,000).”

Muhammad recalled that the Council of State approved N30,000 for Federal Government workers and N27,000 for state workers, but the President went on to seek legislative approval for a N27,000 flat wage.

“When it gets to the harmonisation stage, they will agree to that N30,000. The tripartite committee agreed on N30,000 but because it was tabled before the Council of State; and reliably, what was said after the meeting that the Council of State approved N30,000 for Federal Government workers and N27,000 for state workers. But when they transmitted the bill to the National Assembly, they said it was N27,000. That was what brought the labour to start raising sentiments. But I believe they will all agree on N30,000.”

After the House passed the bill, the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, had noted that should the Senate refused to approve N30,000, a conference committee would be set up to harmonise the different resolutions by the chambers and make its recommendation.

Senate panel members divided over minimum wage

Meanwhile, members of the Senate ad-hoc Committee saddled with the responsibility of working on the minimum wage (amendments) bill have expressed divergent views on the actual amount the panel would recommend as the least amount that the Nigerian workers could earn per month.

Investigations by one of our correspondents revealed that some of the panel members are pushing for concurrence with the N30, 000 minimum wage approved and passed by the House of Representatives last week.

Other members of the panel told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that they were comfortable with the N27, 000 minimum wage proposed by the President while a member vowed to push for a higher wage.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, had penultimate week ago, announced the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, as the chairman of the eight-member panel and they were asked to make their report available within two weeks.

Other members of the panel are Senator Abu Ibrahim, who will represent the Senate Committee on Labour; Senator Shehu Sani, representing the North-West and Senator Sam Egwu, representing the South-East.

The rest are Senators Suleiman Adokwe (North-Central), Francis Alimikhena (South-South), Solomon Adeola (South-West), and Binta Garba.

A member of the panel said, “Where is the money to pay N30, 000? Many state governments are finding it difficult to pay the current N18, 000 not to talk of N27, 000 that the President has proposed.

“I am of the view that we should retain the N27, 000 proposal as it is to avoid sacking of workers both at the private and public establishments.”

But a member told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that it would be risky for the panel to recommend a lesser amount because of the consideration that state governors would not be able to pay.

He said, “I don’t think that state governors cannot pay N30, 000 as minimum wage. They should prioritise their expenditure and reduce waste. The naira has been devalued and it had affected its purchasing powers.”

Another member, who subscribed to a lesser wage than N30, 000 said, “When the minimum wage was catapulted from N11, 000 to N18, 000, about 27 states in Nigeria could not pay salaries for many months.

“When President Muhammadu Buhari took over power, part of the problems he faced was how to rescue the states from collapse because they could no longer pay salaries.

“The only way the government could pay N30, 000 as minimum wage is to further devalue the naira. It would print more naira and pump into the system but what would the workers be able to buy with that?

“We should treat this issue with maturity in the Senate so that we don’t create problems for the incoming government.”

The panel chairman, in an interview with our correspondent last week, refused to confirm whether his panel would also jack up the minimum wage to N30, 000 like their counterparts in the House of Representatives.

The chairman said he would be unfair to his other colleagues if he declared that the panel would also recommend a higher wage than the N27, 000 presented to the National Assembly by President Buhari.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Economy

Ghana Reports Strong 4.7% GDP Growth in First Quarter of 2024

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Ghana’s economy showed impressive growth in the first quarter of 2024 with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanding by 4.7% compared to the same period last year, according to Government Statistician Samuel Kobina Annim.

This represents an increase from the 3.8% growth recorded in the previous quarter and should provide a much-needed boost to the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) as the nation approaches the presidential elections scheduled for December 7.

The positive economic data comes amidst a challenging backdrop of fiscal consolidation efforts under a $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) rescue program.

The government has been working to control debt through reduced spending and restructuring nearly all of its $44 billion debt.

This includes ongoing negotiations with private creditors to reorganize $13 billion worth of bonds.

The latest GDP figures are seen as a vindication of the NPP’s economic policies, which have been under fire from the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The opposition has criticized the government’s handling of the economy, particularly its fiscal policies and the terms of the IMF program, arguing that they have imposed undue hardship on ordinary Ghanaians.

However, the 4.7% growth rate suggests that the measures taken to stabilize the economy are beginning to yield positive results.

Analysts believe that the stronger-than-expected economic performance will bolster the NPP’s position as the country gears up for the presidential elections.

“The growth we are seeing is a testament to the resilience of the Ghanaian economy and the effectiveness of the government’s policies,” Annim stated at a press briefing in Accra. “Despite the constraints imposed by the debt restructuring and IMF program, we are seeing significant progress.”

The IMF program, which is designed to restore macroeconomic stability, has necessitated tough fiscal adjustments.

These include cutting government expenditure and implementing structural reforms aimed at boosting economic efficiency and growth.

The government’s commitment to these reforms has been crucial in securing the confidence of international lenders and investors.

In addition to the IMF support, the government has also been focused on diversifying the economy, reducing its reliance on commodities, and fostering sectors such as manufacturing, services, and technology.

These efforts have contributed to the robust growth figures reported for the first quarter.

Economic growth in Ghana has been uneven in recent years, with periods of rapid expansion often followed by slowdowns.

The current administration has emphasized sustainable and inclusive growth, seeking to ensure that the benefits of economic progress are widely shared across all segments of the population.

The next few months will be critical as the government continues its efforts to stabilize the economy while preparing for the upcoming elections.

The positive GDP growth figures provide a strong foundation, but challenges remain, including managing inflation, creating jobs, and ensuring the stability of the financial sector.

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World Bank Commits Over $15 Billion to Support Nigeria’s Economic Reforms

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The World Bank has pledged over $15 billion in technical advisory and financial support to help the country achieve sustainable economic prosperity.

This commitment, announced in a feature article titled “Turning The Corner: Nigeria’s Ongoing Path of Economic Reforms,” underscores the international lender’s confidence in Nigeria’s recent bold reforms aimed at stabilizing and growing its economy.

The World Bank’s support will be channeled into key sectors such as reliable power and clean energy, girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment, climate adaptation and resilience, water and sanitation, and governance reforms.

The bank lauded Nigeria’s government for its courageous steps in implementing much-needed reforms, highlighting the unification of multiple official exchange rates, which has led to a market-determined official rate, and the phasing out of the costly gasoline subsidy.

“These reforms are crucial for Nigeria’s long-term economic health,” the World Bank stated. “The supply of foreign exchange has improved, benefiting businesses and consumers, while the gap between official and parallel market exchange rates has narrowed, enhancing transparency and curbing corrupt practices.”

The removal of the gasoline subsidy, which had cost the country over 8.6 trillion naira (US$22.2 billion) from 2019 to 2022, was particularly noted for its potential to redirect fiscal resources toward more impactful public investments.

The World Bank pointed out that the subsidy primarily benefited wealthier consumers and fostered black market activities, rather than aiding the poor.

The bank’s article emphasized that Nigeria is at a turning point, with macro-fiscal reforms expected to channel more resources into sectors critical for improving citizens’ lives.

The World Bank’s support is designed to sustain these reforms and expand social protection for the poor and vulnerable, aiming to put the economy back on a sustainable growth path.

In addition to this substantial support, the World Bank recently approved a $2.25 billion loan to Nigeria at a one percent interest rate to finance further fiscal reforms.

This includes $1.5 billion for the Nigeria Reforms for Economic Stabilization to Enable Transformation (RESET) Development Policy Financing, and $750 million for the NG Accelerating Resource Mobilization Reforms Programme-for-Results (ARMOR).

“The future can be bright, and Nigeria can rise and serve as an example for the region on how macro-fiscal and governance reforms, along with continued investments in public goods, can accelerate growth and improve the lives of its citizens,” the World Bank concluded.

With this robust backing from the World Bank, Nigeria is well-positioned to tackle its economic challenges and embark on a path to sustained prosperity and development.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Food Inflation Hits 40.66% Year-on-Year in May 2024

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Nigeria's Inflation Rate - Investors King

Nigeria’s food inflation rate surged to 40.66% on a year-on-year basis in May 2024, a significant increase from 24.82% recorded in May 2023.

The latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) highlight the rising cost of essential food items, exacerbating the economic challenges faced by many Nigerians.

The NBS report attributes the steep rise in food inflation to substantial price increases in several staple items.

Notably, the prices of Semovita, Oatflake, Yam flour, Garri, and Beans saw considerable hikes.

In addition, the cost of Irish Potatoes, Yams, Water Yam, Palm Oil, and Vegetable Oil also climbed significantly. Within the protein category, Stockfish, Mudfish, Crayfish, Beef, Chicken, Pork, and Bush Meat experienced notable price jumps.

The month-on-month food inflation rate in May 2024 was 2.28%, reflecting a slight decrease of 0.22 percentage points from the 2.50% recorded in April 2024.

This month-to-month decline was due to a slower rate of price increases for Palm Oil, Groundnut Oil, Yam, Irish Potatoes, Cassava Tuber, Wine, Bournvita, Milo, and Nescafe.

Despite the minor monthly decrease, the average annual food inflation rate for the twelve months ending May 2024 was 34.06%.

This marks a significant rise of 10.41 percentage points from the average annual rate of 23.65% recorded in May 2023.

The sharp rise in food inflation is raising concerns among economic analysts and policymakers, as it significantly impacts the cost of living for Nigerians.

The rising food prices are straining household budgets and contributing to an overall inflation rate that threatens economic stability.

In response to the inflationary pressures, the Nigerian government and relevant stakeholders are being urged to implement effective measures to stabilize food prices and address the underlying causes of inflation.

Efforts to boost agricultural productivity, improve supply chains, and tackle market inefficiencies are seen as critical to mitigating the inflationary trend.

The NBS report underscores the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to manage inflation and ensure food security for the population.

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