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Labour to Begin Strike as FG Refuses to Back Down on Petrol Price, Electricity Tariffs

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Ayuba Wabba

Labour to Embark on Industrial Action to Force FG  to Reverse Increase in Petrol Price, Electricity Tariffs

The sudden increase in prices of fuel and electricity tariffs despite the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the Nigerian people has forced the Nigerian labour union once again to announce an industrial action to compel the Federal Government to emulate other economies easing COVID-19 impacts through various palliatives and measures.

Labour union on Tuesday set Monday for what it described as “unprecedented mass action” and “total strike” to get the government to reverse the hike in petrol pump price and the increased electricity tariffs.

At a meeting with members of the National Administrative Council, Presidents and General Secretaries, the Nigeria Labour Congress National Executive Council (NEC) agreed to embark on a total strike against what they described as anti-people policy.

While the ultimatum given to the federal government by Trade Union Congress (TUC) expired on Monday, TUC has extended it till Monday in line with NLC announced industrial action.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba, who read the communique of the meeting, said: “NEC resolved to reject in its entirety the issue of hike in electricity tariffs by almost 100 per cent as well as the fuel price increase in the name of full deregulation.

“This decision is premised on the fact that these twin decisions alongside other decisions of government including the increase of VAT by 7.5 per cent, numerous charges by commercial banks on depositors without any explanations will further impoverish Nigerian workers and citizens.

“Therefore, this increase, coming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is not only ill-timed but counter-productive.

“NEC also observed that the privatisation of the electricity sub-sector seven years down the line has not yielded any positive result. Whereas, the entire privatisation process, the entire sector was sold at about N400 billion, we are surprised that government within the last four years injected N1.5 trillion over and above the amount that accrued from this important asset.

“Therefore, NEC came to the conclusion that the entire privatisation process has failed and the electricity hike is actually a process of continuous exploitation of Nigerians.

“On the issue of the refineries and also the increase in the pump price of PMS, this particular issue had been on the table for more than three decades and the argument has not changed.

“Whether it is the name of full deregulation or subsidy removal, what is obvious is that it is fuel price hike and this has further eroded the gains of the N30,000 minimum wage because it has spiral effects which include the high cost of food and services and the reduction in the purchasing power of ordinary Nigerians.

“While demanding that our three refineries should be made to work optimally, NEC also concluded that government has business in doing business because the primary purpose of governance is about the security and welfare of the people and if in other countries, governments are maintaining refineries, and they are working optimally for the benefit of the people, Nigeria cannot be an exception.

“In the light of these, NEC decided to endorse the two-week ultimatum given to the Federal Government to reverse those obnoxious decisions and also pronounce that the action proposed by the Central Working Committee is hereby endorsed by the NEC that 28th of September should be the date that those decisions should be challenged by the Nigerian workers, our civil society allies and other labour centres.”

“We’ll meet. We don’t want anything that will cause more financial pain to workers.”

Speaking on the matter and the reason for industrial action, TUC’s  President Quadri Olaleye and Secretary-General Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, urged to Nigerians to get ready for the “unprecedented mass action”.

TUC said it resolved to work with the NLC and civil society allies because of the magnitude of the situation. Hence, it suspended the previously planned strike to join force with NLC and others.

Consequent upon this, the ultimatum which should expire by midnight of today (yesterday) has been shifted to 28th September 2020 for effective and maximum effect.

“We want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector, to bear with us while the industrial action lasts.

“There is no need for the pains we bear. It is a needless one. They ask us to tighten our belts while they loosen theirs. Services are not rendered yet we are compelled to pay estimated bills.

“You will recall that this government during its electioneering campaigns in 2014 told the world there is nothing like subsidy. We were told that they will build refineries. All that is history now.

“We run a mono-economy and any hike in fuel automatically will have an adverse effect on us, yet successive governments tow that path because they are not creative.

“As at today, about eight states are yet to commence the payment of new minimum wage and its consequential adjustment even though the President signed it into law on April 18, 2019. We have written letters to the governors and also engaged them in dialogue but all to no avail. Sometimes we wonder if these people have a conscience at all.

“The Congress hereby appeals to all Nigerians to get ready for the unprecedented mass action against corruption, obnoxious policies, rape and other violent offences, breach of the collective agreement, unemployment, etc.

“We also call on the USA, UK, Germany, Spain, etc to support our struggle by placing indefinite visa ban on our political leaders whose stock in trade is to loot and impoverish the masses and the country. We can no longer take it. Enough is enough!”

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.

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Economy

Akinwumi Adesina Says It Is Impossible for Businesses to Survive Without Generator in Nigeria

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Akinwumi Adesina

The President of the African Development Bank (AFDB), Akinwumi Adesina faulted the lack of reliable power supply in Nigeria as a hindrance to industrial growth in the nation.

Speaking at the 49th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria in Abuja, Adesina stated that Nigerians spend $14 billion yearly on generators and fuel. He further went on to quote a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which stated that Nigeria loses $29 billion annually, about 5.8 percent of its Gross Domestic Product due to a lack of reliable power supply.

He went on to note the various challenges affecting manufacturing in the country stating that lack of reliable power supply in the country is a major challenge to manufacturers. His words were “To be a manufacturer in Nigeria is not an easy task. You succeed not because of the ease of doing business in the country, but by surmounting multiple constraints that limit industrial manufacturing. Today, the major challenge facing Nigeria’s manufacturing is the very high cost and unreliability of electricity supply. Load shedding and the inconsistent availability of electrical power have resulted in high and uncompetitive manufacturing costs.

He went on saying “Today, no business can survive in Nigeria without generators. Consequently, the abnormal has become normal. Traveling on a road one day in Lagos, I saw an advertisement on a billboard that caught my attention. It was advertising generators with the bold statement, we are the Nation’s number one reliable power supplier!!”

He then went on to proffer potential solutions to the problem, saying that Nigeria should invest in different means of energy generation to ensure the efficiency of the local industries. He suggested there should be massive investment in variable energy mixes, including gas, hydropower resources, and large-scale solar systems to ensure stable baseload power for industries to direct power preferentially to industries and to support industrial mini-grids and concentrate power in industrial zones. In addition, he suggested the development of more efficient utilities which would reduce the technical and non-technical losses in power generation, transmission and distribution systems.

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World Bank Says Nigeria’s Economy is Static, Per Capita Income Unchanged in 40 Years

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The World Bank claims Nigeria’s per capita income has been static since 1981, which is a total of 40 years.

The Country Director of the World Bank, Shubham Chaudhuri said this at the breakout panel session of the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit on Lightning Nigeria: Solution framework for power recovery held in Abuja.

He further went on to advise Nigeria’s economic managers to quickly assemble potent strategies to harness the robust potential of the country.

He went on to say that the medium-term development plan for 2021-2025 is set on the development agenda for sustainable growth driven by new and emerging sectors. He claimed about three million Nigerians come of working age yearly, but surveys have shown that they aspire to go abroad to earn a better standard of living.

Per Capita Income is an Economic indicator that indicates the average income earned per person in a country in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the country’s total income by its total population. In 1981, according to World Bank data, Nigeria’s per capita income was $2,180.2 and per capita income was $2,097 in 2020, meaning there has been no significant change in four decades.

 Earlier in the session, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed called for a paradigm shift in running the country’s economy through comprehensive and targeted reforms, a reorientation of national values, and a radical shift in attitudes to taxation and public financial management. 

She said, “This is consistent with the focus of this administration on targeted investment in critical infrastructure and social development.

 The Nigerian Economic Summit is the flagship event of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and it is organized in collaboration with the National Planning Commission (NPC). The Nigerian economic summit has consistently focused on job creation, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) growth, competitiveness, dismantling the pillars of corruption, encouraging sustainable growth and development, and aligning home-grown long-term agenda with the UN sustainable development goals. The 27th Nigerian Economic Summit has the theme Securing our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.

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Economy

East African Countries to Discuss Economic Recovery and Investments Promotion this Week in Kigali

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Trade - Investors King

More than 100 decision-makers and economic stakeholders will gather in Kigali this week to discuss the road to social and economic recovery and how to attract investments in East Africa. The meeting known as the 25th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE), will take place from 27 to 29 October 2021. 

The ICSOE is the annual gathering of the office for Eastern Africa of the UN Economic Commission in Africa (UNECA) organised in collaboration with the Rwanda Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. The theme of this year’s meeting is: “Strengthening resilience for a strong recovery and attracting investments to foster economic diversification and long-term growth in Eastern Africa”.

Dr Mama Keita, Director of UNECA in Eastern Africa said that the Covid-19 pandemic has weakened the economic conditions of all countries in the region. She stressed that the ICSOE meeting will provide a platform for various stakeholders from governments to have a conversation with experts and private sectors on the needed economic recovery and on how to re-ignite the engines of trade and investment.

Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning said that this meeting is timely and significant. “This is the time for Rwanda to discuss with other countries of the region the potentials and the ability to rise and be responsive to the socio-economic challenges, exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.

According to Ms Keita, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is undoubtedly critical to support the recovery from the severe adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, increase the economic multiplier in the region and will help countries to build back better, grow their economies and create jobs that foster inclusive growth.

The participants at the meeting will discuss thematic issues such as deepening Regional Value Chains, environment for investment Opportunities and Interlinkages between peace, security and development.

The subregional office for East Africa of UNECA serves 14 countries: Burundi, Comores, RD Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

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