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Minimum Wage: Workers Lobby Senators to Approve N30,000



  • 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.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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World Bank Calls on Nigeria to Impose Special Taxes on Alcohol and Tobacco




The World Bank Group has made a call to the Federal Government of Nigeria, urging the government to impose special taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and beverages that are highly sweetened in order to improve primary healthcare conditions in the country.

Shubham Chaudhuri, who is the Country Director for Nigeria in the World Bank Group, said that an improvement in healthcare in Nigeria will come by taxing the things that are “killing us.” He said that the economic rationale for the action is quite strong if lives are to be saved and a healthier Nigeria achieved.

Chaudhuri made the call on Friday, at a special National Council on Health meeting which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja. Chaudhuri stated that placing special taxes on tobacco, sweetened beverages and alcohol would reduce the health risks which come with their consumption and expand the fiscal space for universal health coverage after COVID 19.

The country director also said that investing in stronger health systems for all would make significant contributions to the fight against inequality and the rising poverty situation in the country. He went on to add that increasing health tax would provide an extra advantage of reducing healthcare cost in the future, by hindering the growth of the diseases which are caused by tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The representative of the WHO in Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo said that he could confirm the large health needs of Nigerians, as well as the efforts being made to meet those needs. He said this was based on the fact that he had been to over half of Nigeria’s states in less than two years of being in the country.

Mulombo then noted that although the coronavirus exposed weaknesses in the global economy (not excluding health), it could be considered as a unique opportunity for a thorough examination of existing resources and mechanisms to prepare for a more resilient future.

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Nigeria’s VAT Revenue Falls to N500 Billion in Q3 2021, Manufacturing Sector in the Lead



Value added tax - Investors King

In the third quarter of 2021, Nigeria generated a total sum of N500.49 billion as value-added tax which represents a 2.3% decline when compared to the N512.25 billion recorded in the second quarter of the year.

This is as seen in the VAT report which was recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The report revealed that the manufacturing sector was in the lead as it remitted a total of N91.2 billion, representing about 30% of the total local non-import value added taxes in that period.

In spite of the quarter-on-quarter decline of VAT collections in the reviewed period, it grew by a further 17.8% when compared to N424.7 billion generated in the same period of the previous year. The report also shows that an amount of N1.5 trillion has been generated from value added taxes from January 2021 to September 2021.

That is 40.2% higher than the N1.08 trillion recorded in the same period of 2020, and 72.3% higher than what was recorded in the same period of 2019.

To break it down, the Value Added Tax collected in the first, second and third quarter of 2021 was recorded at N496.39 billion, N512.25 billion and N500.49 billion respectively. It is higher than the corresponding figures of 2020, which sat at N324.58 billion, N327.20 billion and N424.71 billion for the first, second and third quarters respectively.

In the third quarter of 2021, the Manufacturing activity accounted for the largest share of total revenue collected across sectors, with a huge 30.87% (N91.2 billion) coming from that sector. The Information & Communication sector came in second with 20.05% (N53.9 billion) contributed, while the Mining & Quarrying sector came in third with 9.62% (N28.4 billion).

Nigeria has continued to ramp up its efforts to increase revenue from non-oil sectors by increasing its tax collection rates, which has recorded largely significant growth since the federal government increased the VAT rate from 5% to 7.5% in the 2019 Finance Act, which was signed and made effective in 2020.

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Nigeria’s Economy to Close 2021 at 2.5% Growth Rate



Trade - Investors King

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has predicted that the Nigerian economy will close its growth rate for the year at 2.5%.

This was said by the President of the LCCI, Toki Mabogunje at the 133rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the chamber in Lagos on Thursday, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria.

The LCCI leader advised that Nigeria’s monetary and fiscal aspects of the economy should encourage policies that enhance growth and build confidence which would invigorate private capital flows to the economy to achieve the growth. She also encouraged a medium-term recovery plan which is anchored on local productivity, attracting private investment, developing physical and soft infrastructure, and ease of business.

Mabogunje disclosed that Nigeria’s inflation would be maintained at its double digit level within the short to medium term, due to food supply shocks, foreign exchange illiquidity, higher energy cost, social unrest in the Northern region, possible removal of fuel subsidy, and insecurity. She stated that these structural factors will keep on mounting pressure on domestic consumer prices.

She also added that in spite of the non-oil economy’s growth by 5.4%, insecurity problems in some areas of the country may lead to shrinking in production and a disruption of the supply chain. She states that the important drivers of the non-oil sector growth were finance and insurance holding 23.2%, transport and storage 20.6%, trade carrying 11.9% and telecommunications 10.9%.

Others include manufacturing, construction, real estate and agriculture with 4.3%, 4.1%, 2.3% and 1.2% respectively throughout the year.

Speaking on the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to retain policy parameters, she mentioned that although the apex bank has been keen to extend credit to the real economy as a way of supporting it, it is a fact that the provision of credit recently has proven ineffective in improving output growth and stabilizing consumer prices.

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