- ASUU, FG Meeting Deadlocked as Strike Continues
The Federal Government on Thursday opened negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the Ministry of Labour and Employment office in Abuja over the universities lecturers’ strike since November 5.
The meeting, which began at 3pm and lasted till 9pm, was adjourned till next week, as the striking teachers and government did not reach a middle ground.
Our correspondent learnt that the closed-door meeting looked at the seven points in the Memorandum of Action signed in September 2017, and the two parties reviewed the highlights of the agreement.
The ASUU delegation was led by its National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, while the government side had the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono; and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.
The labour minister, during a brief session with newsmen before the closed-door meeting, apologised that “talks with the academic union are coming a bit late because we have been having negotiations on the new minimum wage.”
Ngige said, “The government appeals to ASUU to put the interest of the students first because they are at the receiving end of the consideration.”
In a copy of the 2017 Memorandum of Action, which was reviewed by the two parties, the issues of discussion included “funding for revitalisation of universities; earned academic allowances; staff schools; pension matters; salary shortfalls, Treasury Single Account exemption; and state universities.”
Ogunyemi, after the six-hour meeting, said the union had put forward its demands and the meeting had been adjourned till next week.
He said, “No date has been fixed for next week but we will communicate the date to you tomorrow (Friday). The union was forced to go on strike because our plea for the implementation of the 2017 Memorandum of Action fell on deaf ears.
“Our meeting with the Minister of Education (Adamu Adamu) in May and September 2018 to remind him of the Federal Government’s promises to implement the agreement yielded no result.”
South Africa’s Inflation Dips to 15 Year Low of 2.1% in May
South Africa’s Inflation Rate Declines to 15 Year Low in May
South Africa, Africa’s second-largest economy, said its inflation rate moderated to a record 15-year low in the month of May.
According to South Africa’s national statistics agency, Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation rate, moderated to 2.1 percent year-on-year, below the 3 percent to 6 percent range targeted by the central bank.
This, experts attributed to drop in fuel cost and the slow down in general spending due to COVID-19 lockdown.
Busisiwe Radebe, an economist with Nedbank, said “This number won’t be a surprise to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). Inflation will have to surprise in a major way to what they have in their forecasts. What they will be concerned about most is growth.”
In May, the nation’s central bank had lowered the interest rate to a record low of 3.75 percent to stimulate the recession and lockdown ravaged economy. The bank did strike a cautious tone, warning monetary policy alone could not spur economic growth.
“At the May meeting, the feeling was the bank had reached the trough in rate cuts. So they’ll probably hold rates,” Radebe said. He added that a shift in the central bank’s 7 percent GDP contraction would be key indicator.
Nigeria’s Population to Hit 791m, Surpasses China by 2100 – Report
Nigeria’s Population to Surpasses China by 2100 – Report
A recent report has predicted that Nigeria’s population will surpass that of China by the year 2100.
The new research conducted by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected that China’s population would peak at around 1.4 billion in four years time and moderated to about 732 million people by 732 million.
While Nigeria’s population is expected to rise more than the Chinese to 791 million by the same year to emerge the world’s second largest country after India.
The reduction in population was a result of the projected drop in global fertility rates going forward. However, the research predicted that the population of sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s poorest region, would triple in size to over three billion people by 2100.
Prof. Christopher Murray, a researcher and former Director of the Harvard Centre for Population and Development, said the surge in population in the region would lead to migration to many European and Asian nations with far less manpower as of the time.
Murray said, “We will have many more people of African descent in many more countries as we go through this.
“Global recognition of the challenges around racism are going to be all the more critical if there are large numbers of people of African descent in many countries.”
Osinbajo Says COVID-19 Caused 40% Reduction in Nigeria’s Revenue
COVID-19 Cut Off About 40% of Nigeria’s Revenue
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday said the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the nation’s revenue generation by 40 percent.
Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a statement titled “How we are converting COVID-19 pandemic to opportunity to reset the economy – Osinbajo” on Tuesday.
According to Akande, the Vice President disclosed this in a webinar organised by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council with a focus on the Nigerian economy.
The Vice President was quoted as saying, “It seemed the sun was beginning to shine quite brightly after the years of recession and its immediate aftermath.
“Then came COVID-19, possibly the worst economic crisis the world has seen.
“For us in Nigeria, it was a perfect storm for oil prices, Russia and Saudi Arabia choosing that very moment for a price war.
“Then the inevitable lockdowns resulting in closure of businesses. Our huge informal economy all but crashed and government revenues fell too by over 40 per cent.”
Osinbaja, therefore, said considering the size of the economy and its fiscal limitations, a stimulus package of N2.3 trillion, representing about 1.5 percent of the nation’s income, was put in place to stimulate growth, protect jobs and support businesses.
The Vice President added that if factors like oil price and COVID-19 pandemic did not deteriorate further, the stimulus would be enough to stir growth and halt massive economic recession to about -0.59 percent in 2020.
“We have taken the opportunity to remove petrol subsidies and to insist that power distribution companies must engage with customers to ensure that new tariffs are based only on improved power supply,” he said.
In addition to using fiscal and monetary policies to stimulate the economy from within, the Vice President said the Federal Government’s main goals were to retain and create jobs, help vulnerable people and support businesses while undertaking infrastructural developments.
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