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Labour, FG Agree to Suspend Strike for Two Weeks as FG Put Electricity Hike on Hold

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Nigeria Labour Congress - Investors King

FG Has Put Electricity Hike on Hold for Two Weeks and Announced Palliatives for Workers

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have suspended the strike scheduled to commence today (Monday).

This followed an agreement reached with the Federal Government at a meeting which started at 8.30pm on Sunday and ended at 2:50am this morning.

After exhaustive deliberations on the issues raised by the labour centres, the meeting agreed to suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments for two weeks.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, read the five-page communique signed by the representatives of the government and labour.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Quadri Olaleye, amongst others signed on behalf of Organised Labour while the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Minister of State Petroleum, Timipre Silva; Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and others, signed on behalf of the government.

Olaleye confirmed the development in an interview on Monday morning.

He said, “Definitely correct. We just left a press conference. We signed a document to suspend the action for two weeks for the government to implement those things that we agreed in the agreement. So, we are suspending for two weeks.

“We don’t need a notice again to re-convene if there is a need to do that.”

The parties agreed to set up a technical committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC.

It would work for a duration of two weeks effective September 28, to examine the justifications for the new policy “in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC; metering deployment, challenges, timeline for massive rollout.”

The members of the committee include the Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN) as Chairman; Minister of State Power, Godwin Jedy-Agba; Chairman, National Electricity Regulatory Commission, James Momoh; Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmad Zakari as the Secretary.

Other members are Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen, Joe Ajaero (NLC), Chris Okonkwo (TUC) and a representative of electricity distribution companies.

The committee’s terms of reference are to examine the justification for the new policy on cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments; to look at the different DISCOs and their different electricity tariff vis-à-vis NERC order and mandate; examine and advise government on the issues that have hindered the deployment of the 6 million meters, among others.

“During the two weeks, the DISCOs shall suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments,” the communique noted.

It also noted that the FG has fashioned out palliatives that would ameliorate the sufferings that Nigerian workers may experience as a result of the hike in cost electricity tariffs and the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.

The palliatives will be in the areas of transport, power, housing, agriculture and humanitarian support.

The meeting also resolved that the 40 per cent stake of government in the DISCO and the stake of workers should be reflected in the composition of the DISCO’s boards.

It agreed that “an all-inclusive and independent review of the power sector operations as provided in the privatization MoU to be undertaken before the end of the year 2020, with labour represented.

“All parties agreed on the urgency for increasing the local refining capacity of the nation to reduce the overdependency on importation of petroleum products to ensure energy security, reduce cost of finished products, increase employment and business opportunities for Nigerians.”

To address this, the parties resolved that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation should expedite the rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna to achieve 50 per cent completion by December 2021, while timelines and delivery for Warri and Kaduna will be established by the inclusive steering committee.

“To ensure commitment and transparency to the processes and timelines of the rehabilitation exercise, the management of NNPC has offered to integrate the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association into the steering committee already established by the corporation,” the communique stated.

It added that a validation team comprising the representatives of the NNPC, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, NUPENG and PENGASSAN would be established to monitor progress of the rehabilitation of the refineries and the pipelines/strategic depots network and advice the steering committee periodically.

It also said that post-rehabilitation, NNPC shall involve the PENGASSAN and NUPENG in the process of establishing the operational model of the nation’s refineries.

The statement added, “The Federal Government will facilitate the delivery of licensed modular and regular refineries, involvement of upstream companies in petroleum refining and establishing framework for financing in the downstream sector.

“NNPC to expedite work on the Build, Operate and Transfer framework for the nation’s pipelines and strategic depots network for efficient transportation and distribution of petroleum products to match the delivery timelines of the refineries as agreed.”

The government and its agencies agreed to ensure delivery of 1 million CNG/LPG AutoGas conversion kits, storage skids and dispensing units under the Nigeria Gas Expansion Programme by December 2021 to enable delivery of cheaper transportation and power fuel.

A governance structure that will include representatives of organized labour shall be established for timely delivery.

To cushion the impacts of the downstream sector deregulation and tariffs adjustment in the power sector, the FG agreed to announce in two weeks a specific amount to be accessed by workers with subsequent provision for 240,000 workers under the auspices of NLC and TUC for participation in agricultural ventures through the Central Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture.

The timeline will be fixed at the next meeting.

The meeting further resolved that the FG will facilitate the removal of tax on minimum wage as a way of cushioning the impacts of the policy on the lowest vulnerable.

The government would also make available to organized labour 133 CNG/LPG-driven mass transit buses immediately and provide to the major cities across the country on a scale up basis thereafter, to all states and local governments before December 2021.

“On Housing, 10 per cent to be allocated to Nigerian workers under the ongoing Ministry of Housing and Finance initiative through the NLC and TUC,” the communique disclosed.

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

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Economy

Inflation and Forex Mismanagement Drive Petrol Truck Prices from N7M to N25M

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Petrol Importation - investorsking.com

The Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria in the Satellite Depot branch, Akin Akinrinade, has raised an alarm over the rising cost of petrol trucks in Nigeria.

According to Akinrinade, the cost of a petrol truck has surged from N7 million in May to an astonishing N25 million at present, attributed to inflation induced by poorly managed foreign exchange rates.

Akinrinade pointed out that the forex mismanagement has significantly impacted the landing cost of premium motor spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, consequently leading to a surge in pump prices.

The unstable business environment, coupled with the astronomical rise in expenses, has created challenges for marketers in the downstream oil sector.

Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), highlighted in October 2023 that foreign exchange challenges have hindered private companies from importing petroleum products.

As a result, the NNPCL has become the exclusive importer of petrol.

The decision to limit private entities from importing fuel comes after President Bola Tinubu’s initiatives aimed at deregulating the fuel market.

Initially, the plan was to allow private companies to import fuel starting June 2023, aligning with efforts to balance the market after removing petrol subsidies.

The ripple effects of the soaring petrol costs are already evident, with commercial transporters increasing fares, and private car owners seeking fuel-saving alternatives.

As Christmas approaches, the surge in demand for interstate travel is expected to further elevate costs, posing financial challenges for many Nigerians amidst stagnant income levels.

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Nigeria’s Presidential CNG Initiative Allocates N100bn for CNG Buses and EV Adoption

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powergas

The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative has allocated N100 billion to expedite the deployment of CNG buses nationwide, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

The initiative, designed to catalyze an Auto-gas and Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution in mass transit and transportation, aims to enhance sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

The statement revealed that the fund would be instrumental in supporting the adoption of auto-gas and electric vehicles, signaling a commitment to a more sustainable and economical future in the transportation sector.

The Presidential CNG Initiative plans to leverage over 11,500 CNG and electric-fueled vehicles, along with the deployment of 55,000 conversion kits.

This strategic approach is intended to reduce transportation costs for Nigerians and mitigate the challenges posed by the rising cost of living.

Under the Renewed Hope Agenda, the Presidential CNG Initiative is dedicated to realizing the President’s vision, guided by its steering committee led by FIRS Chairman Zacch Adedeji.

The statement highlighted recent achievements, including strategic technical partnerships and the ongoing commissioning of CNG Conversion centers in key states such as Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ogun, and Rivers.

Several more centers are slated for commissioning in the coming weeks, reflecting the initiative’s momentum and commitment to achieving its objectives.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Power Transformation: 53 Projects Worth N122bn on Track for May 2024 Completion

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power project

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and power distribution companies, is set to complete 53 power projects by May next year.

Valued at N122 billion, these projects aim to add over 1,000 megawatts to TCN’s wheeling capacity.

During a recent tour of three ongoing projects in Lagos, TCN’s Programme Coordinator, Mathew Ajibade, assured that the projects were not abandoned, refuting speculations.

He confirmed that work is progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by May 2024, as initially planned.

Assistant Director/Head of Infrastructure Finance Office at the CBN, Tumba Tijani, highlighted the CBN’s support for the power sector, revealing that the bank released a loan at a 9% interest rate in August last year for the projects.

The funding, part of the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility-3, amounts to N122,289,344 and aims to address transmission/distribution bottlenecks, enhance supply to end-users, and unlock unutilized generation capacity.

Tijani disclosed that N85.43 billion has been disbursed into the Advance Payment Guarantee account of the 53 contractors responsible for executing the projects.

The comprehensive project list includes the delivery of power transformers, re-conductoring existing transmission lines, upgrading existing substations, and constructing 33KV line bays.

The initiative reflects a concerted effort to enhance Nigeria’s power infrastructure and meet growing energy demands.

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