- TCN Workers Vow to Resist Power Transmission Shutdown
Workers at the Transmission Company of Nigeria on Wednesday vowed to maintain stiff resistance against the move by the Trade Union Congress to shutdown the electricity transmission arm of the country’s power sector.
It was observed on Wednesday at the headquarters of the TCN in Abuja that employees of the transmission company had been on the alert since Monday after members of the TUC stormed the various offices of the TCN in many parts of the country to halt operations at the firms.
The Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, TCN Branch, Abidemi Dairo, told our correspondent that although he and some other employees of TCN sustained injury during the picketing of their office by TUC members, workers at the transmission company would not be deterred in resisting plans to halt power transmission.
“Yes, I was injured when they (TUC) came to picket our headquarters as well as other stations on Monday. But what I want you to know is that we will continue to mount stiff resistance to such actions that aim to shutdown our operations,” he said.
The National President of TUC, Bobboi Kagama, had led members of the union to picket the transmission company in Abuja on Monday.
Kagama stated that the labour union decided to shut down the country’s transmission company because for some time now, workers of the firm had been subjected to inhumane treatment by their management.
He stated that despite the interventions of labour, the TCN management had continued to disregard the Nigerian workers at the firm, adding that the TUC would not accept such unwholesome acts against staff by the transmission company.
The TUC alleged that the Managing Director of TCN, Usman Mohammed, was an agent of foreign donors and on a mission to wind down the transmission company’s operation as a government-owned firm by planning to downgrade and reduce the number of regions of the company.
“He (Mohammed) started by seeking to compromise union leaders in the sector that have opposed his rascality and refused his offers,” Kagama stated.
He said it was on that note that the TUC directed its members to solidarise with the workers and ensure a total shutdown of electricity transmission across the federation through the picketing of TCN offices nationwide on Monday.
On Monday that the TUC asked Nigerians to look for alternative power source beginning from Tuesday, following the union’s plan to shut down the electricity transmission arm of the power sector.
But Dairo refuted the claims of the TUC president and stated that “all the allegations against TCN management, as made by the TUC, are false.”
He added, “It is unfortunate that the TUC president is being fed with wrong information about the happenings here in TCN and we have approached him several times to try and make him understand that there is no disharmony in the transmission company and, as such, there is no need to shut down the company.”
Also, the TCN described the protest and planned shutdown of its operations by the TUC as ill-motivated, stressing that it was wrong for the labour union to claim that there was industrial disharmony in the transmission company.
The General Manager, Public Affairs, TCN, Ndidi Mbah, told our correspondent that there was no iota of truth in the statement credited to the labour union that there was industrial unrest in the company.
The transmission company stated that “TUC was ill-informed by Chris Okonkwo, the current president of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, having lost the support of TCN staff in his bid to use the association to advance his selfish interest.”
It added, “TCN management believes that the TUC, unknown to the union, is being used by unpatriotic elements. The TUC, as a law-abiding organisation, is expected to find out why Okonkwo could not secure the support of TCN staff, the NUEE (National Union of Electricity Employees) or SSAEAC TCN Branch before accepting to lead the picketing of TCN.”
TCN stated that it was unfortunate that the union picketed the transmission company despite being served an order from the Industrial Court of Nigeria in suit No. NICN/ABJ/121/2019, which restrained the TUC “from picketing or any industrial action, or further industrial action against the claimant pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”
Intra-Regional Trade Potential a Key Focus in New Report
A new focus report, produced by Oxford Business Group (OBG) in partnership with the African Economic Zones Organisation (AEZO), shines a spotlight on the continent’s rapidly developing industrial sector, which is poised to become a key driver of broader economic growth as regional integration increases.
Titled ”Economic Zones in Africa – Focus Report”, the report was launched at the AEZO’s 6th Annual Meeting II, which took place on November 25 at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat office in Ghana, with participants also able to attend remotely. The meeting was held under the banner “Connecting African Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to Global Value Chains at the era of the AfCFTA” and explored a range of topical issues relating to SEZs, from their potential to boost trade to the impact of Covid-19 on the continent’s supply chains.
The focus report examines the wealth of benefits that the AfCFTA is expected to deliver to both Africa’s economic zones and the businesses located in them, which range from greater market access to a reduction in trade barriers and lower production costs.
The disruption that the pandemic brought to supply chains and the opportunities emerging from the health crisis for businesses to become part of nascent regional value chains across a more closely connected continent are a key focus.
The report also charts the digital transformation taking place in many of Africa’s economic zones, as businesses make the move away from traditional segments to high-tech processes and digital services, adding value to their offerings in the process.
In addition, it provides in-depth analysis of the drive evident among many SEZs to put environmental, social and governance principles and sustainable business practices at the heart of their strategies, at a time when ethical investment and alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals are high on the global agenda.
The report includes in-depth case studies and viewpoints by representatives from key industry players namely: Tanger Med; Polaris Parks; Lagos Free Zones; Ghana Free Zones Authority; Misurata Free Zone; and Sebore Farms.
It also includes a contribution from Ahmed Bennis, Secretary General, AEZO, in which he highlights the role that SEZs are playing in the continent’s industrial transformation and the importance of supporting their development.
“Economic zones can play a game-changing role in Africa’s diversification and inclusion by providing end-to-end solutions and services that support industrial upgrades and increase countries’ attractiveness for investment,” he said. “With the implementation of AfCFTA and the post-Covid-19 recovery that the world is beginning to experience, we believe that real investment opportunities exist in Africa at this moment, which can translate into job creation and social and economic development. Africa has resources that need to be developed and economic zones can play a key role in this.”
Bernardo Bruzzone, OBG’s Regional Editor for Africa, added that while African economic zones had experienced production problems during the pandemic due to global supply chain disruptions, ongoing remedial action, including new infrastructure and human capital development, would help provide resilience against future external shocks.
“Africa’s real GDP growth is forecast to reach 3.4% in 2021, with an increase in intra-regional trade and improved connectivity among the facilitators of economic recovery,” Bruzzone said. “Looking ahead, we see economic zones as having a key role to play in helping the AfCFTA achieve its potential through the development of new strategies that will lead to a more diverse, higher-value range of exports.”
The study forms part of a series of tailored reports that OBG is currently producing with its partners, alongside other highly relevant, go-to research tools, including a range of country-specific Growth and Recovery Outlook articles and interviews.
Lagos Budget N1.4 Trillion for 2022, Budget Surpasses Five Other Southwest States Combined
Lagos state government has proposed N1.388 trillion budget for the year 2022. The proposed budget was presented to the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
While presenting the proposed budget, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the State would be spending N325 billion on vital infrastructure projects in key sectors to energise and expand the growth of the State’s economy.
The key areas of growth identified by the Governor include Works and Infrastructure, Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Agriculture, Transportation, Energy and Mineral Resources, Tourism, Entertainment and Creative Industry, Commerce and Industry, Wealth Creation and Employment.
The proposed budget, christened “Budget of Consolidation”, will be the last full-year fiscal plan of the State before the next general election.
About N823.4 billion, representing 59 per cent of the 2022 budget, is earmarked for capital expenditure. Recurrent expenditure, representing 41 per cent, is N565 billion, which includes personnel cost, overhead and debt services.
Of the total proposed expenditure, N1.135 trillion would accrue from Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs) and federal transfers, while deficit financing of N253 billion would be sourced from external and domestic loans, and bonds projected to be within the State’s fiscal sustainability parameters.
The State would be earmarking an aggregate of N137.64 billion, representing 9.92 per cent of the 2022 budget, for the funding of green investment in Environment, Social Protection, Housing and Community Amenities.
“This financial proposal is presented with a sense of duty and absolute commitment to the transformation of Lagos to a preferred global destination for residence, commerce, and investment. The budget projects to see a continuing but gradual recovery to growth in economic activity as the global economy cautiously recovers from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic,” the governor said while presenting the budget to the house.
Meanwhile, the 1.388 trillion budgeted for 2022 is higher than the budget of the five other southwest states combined. For 2022, Ekiti State’s budget is 100.7 billion, Osun 129.7 billion, Ondo 191billion, Oyo 294 billion. Ogun’s budget for 2022 is not yet finalised, but going by their 2021 budget of 339 billion, the combined budget of the five South-West states then amount to 1.053 trillion. With this, Lagos state budget is higher than the five states budget with a difference of 335 billion.
Nigeria’s Export Trade to Surpass $100 Billion by 2030 – Report
New research conducted by the Standard Chartered Bank has predicted that Nigeria’s export trade will reach an amount of $112 billion in 2030, and will then be recording a Year-on-Year increase of 9.7 percent.
The research also led to the projection that India, Indonesia and Mainland China will be the major avenues leading to an increase in the country’s involvement in global trade.
The research is titled “Future of Trade 2030: Trends and Markets to Watch,” and also projected that the global exports trade will grow from $17.4 trillion and reach $29.7 trillion between 2021 and 2030. It was also projected that the trade will be largely moved by 13 markets, some of which are Bangladesh, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mainland China and Kenya. Others that will drive the trade are Nigeria, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
The report added that the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa will have the biggest share of fast-growing markets in the future. It also said that these three regions will see an increase in investment flows, with about 82 percent of respondents in the research confirming their desire to bring up new production locations in these regions within the next five to ten years. This act would support the trend towards rebalancing to upcoming markets and greater risk diversification of supply chains.
The research also said that global trade will be revamped by five vital trends, which are the wider adoption of sustainable, fair-trade practices, demand for more inclusive participation, greater risk diversification, increased digitization and a rebalancing towards high-growth upcoming markets.
Close to 90 percent of the corporate leaders contacted for the study agreed that these five trends will shape the future of trade and form part of their five to ten-year expansion strategies across borders.
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