- Govt Begins Payment of Workers’ N23bn Salary, Promotion Arrears
The Federal Government has commenced the payment of about N23bn promotion arrears and salary shortfall to civil servants.
The development was confirmed by the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Idris Ahmed, in Abuja on Wednesday, who said N13.2bn was for salary shortfall and N10bn for promotion arrears.
The issue of promotion arrears has been of concern to many civil servants who have been promoted but were still being paid based on the salary grade before their promotion.
The development had been blamed on inadequate budgetary provision for personnel cost.
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria in May issued a strike notice to the government over the issue.
Ahmed said the government’s decision was anchored on a clear understanding that clearing the arrears formed part of the palliative measures being offered to cushion the effects of the harsh economic realities on civil servants.
He added that the mandate to pay the affected workers was being released in batches, noting that the delay in releasing the funds was largely due to the verification of the claims of those to be paid.
He explained that unlike in the past where funds were released to the various ministries, departments and agencies of government for onward disbursement to beneficiaries, a new approach had been adopted to check the rate of abuse of the process.
He said henceforth, the accounts of those that were promoted and being owed arrears would be credited directly after all the necessary verification.
He said about N13.2bn had been provided for the payments of the promotion arrears to the concerned civil servants.
He said, “We cannot give money in bulk to agencies. We will accept detailed information of all those individual employees of government who are in that category having names, banks and account numbers and the amount that happens to be in arrears as far as their salary payments are concerned.
“After due verification, we will now pay direct to the account of the employee. We have started that already and money has been set aside, N13.2bn for the salary shortfall and then N10bn monthly for promotion arrears.”
Fuel Scarcity: NUPENG to Commence Strike on Monday
Lagosians Should Brace for Fuel Scarcity as NUPENG Embarks on Strike
Nigerians should brace for fuel scarcity as the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) directed all petroleum tanker drivers to withdraw their services from Lagos State starting from Monday, 10 August 2020.
In a statement released by NUPENG on Friday, the union said the directive followed the failure of various authorities in Lagos State to address three major issues that had impacted the operations of petroleum tanker drivers in the state for several months.
The statement signed by the National President, Williams Akporeha and the General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi, NUPENG and titled title ‘NUPENG leadership directs withdrawal of services by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State with effect from Monday, August 10, 2020,’ noted that members of the union are frustrated and pained by the barrage of challenges faced while carrying out their activities in Lagos State.
NUPENG said, “The entire rank and file members of the union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonised by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until the Lagos State Government and other relevant stakeholders address these critical challenges.
“It is sad and disheartening to note here that we had made several appeals and reports to the Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.”
NUPENG listed the major challenges faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State as extortion and harassment by various security agents and, area boys’ (miscreants).
“This menace must stop and the leadership of these security operatives in Lagos State must go all out to call their men to order with immediate effect.”
The Union added that it is sad that the security agents who were expected to ensure the free flow of traffic and protection of road users were the same people using their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from petroleum drivers in Lagos State.
Therefore, it said it had embarked on an indefinite strike to force the Lagos State Government to address the situation.
NLC Gives Airlines Two Weeks to Reverse Mass Lay-offs
NLC Goes After Bristow, Air Peace, Demands Reversal of Mass Lay-offs
The Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday rejected the recent sack of 100 Pilots by Air Peace, 70 Pilots by Bristow Helicopters and staff of the National Union of Air Transport union working with Turkish Air.
In a statement released by the Union, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, the President, NLC, described the action of the companies as “insensitive, callous and unjust”.
Earlier in the week, Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest carrier announced it would be letting go of 70 pilots as it struggles to curb the impact of COVID-19 on its finances.
This was followed by Bristow Helicopters’ announcement that it would be letting go of 100 Pilots and Engineers as it can no longer support them due to its decline in its financial position.
While the companies have blamed COVID-19 and lack of government support for their decision to cut costs to remain afloat, experts believed the decision was as a result of recent union activities of the affected staff.
Bristow staff had embarked on strike on Monday after talks between the Nigerian Association of Air Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and the management of the company broke down despite giving them three days strike warning.
Wabba said no worker should be sacked or penalised for participating in union activities.
He said, “The unilateral sack of executive members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees working with Turkish Airline is particularly distressing.
“These workers were sacked for fighting for the rights of Nigerian workers in Turkish Air.
“This is very reprehensible. We wish to remind Turkish Air that unionised workers cannot be punished or sacked for participating in trade union activities.
“This action is aimed at frustrating unionisation in Turkish Air and to enslave Nigerians working with Turkish Air.”
Wabba emphasised that the Union would not stop advocating for the dismissed workers. The President of NLC, therefore, called on the management of Turkish Air, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters to reinstate all workers within two weeks.
He warned that failure to comply with the Union demand would be met with mas action across Nigeria’s workforce.
He said, “We call on the management of Turkish Air, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters to reinstate all the sacked workers within two weeks.”
Brent Crude Oil Pulls Back to $44 Per Barrel
Brent Drops from $46 Per Barrel to $44 on Friday
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is measured, pulled back on Friday morning during the New York trading session to $44 per barrel.
The commodity rose on Tuesday on hopes that the United States is working on a new economic stimulus package and signs that the world’s largest economy is making progress with COVID-19.
“Crude prices turned positive on stimulus hopes and after another positive round of economic data showed manufacturing recovery continued in June,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Brent crude oil rose as high as $46.21 per barrel on Wednesday before pulling back to $44.47 per barrel on Friday amid concerns that the second wave of COVID-19 would eventually weigh on the demand for the commodity and disrupt whatever plans OPEC and allies have to curtail further decline in oil prices.
However, experts think the new US stimulus would bolster market outlook and increase global oil demand with demand in consumer goods.
“Hopes are still running high for another round of fiscal stimulus,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM. “Failure to extend aid would deal a massive blow to the recovering U.S. economy and the fragile oil demand outlook.”
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