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Minimum Wage: No Strike Threat, Negotiation Ongoing, Says NLC

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Ayuba Wabba
  • Minimum Wage: No Strike Threat, Negotiation Ongoing, Says NLC

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has denied recent media reports that it threated to embark on strike over the delayed implementation of the new minimum wage.

Speaking in a telephone chat, the National President, NLC, Mr Ayuba Wabba, vehemently discarded reports of an agreed strike action.

“NLC has not declared any action,” he said.

“If we have, I will speak to it. You will hear my voice and I will sign a document. We have not issued any notice in that respect. Even the Trade Union Congress has not done that.”

Some newspapers had reported on Tuesday that unions under the NLC had vowed to begin an indefinite industrial action nationwide over the new minimum wage.

But Wabba described the report as unsubstantiated rumours.

Labour union representatives are currently negotiating with government representatives over the new minimum wage and Wabba said, “if there is any constraint, our attention will be drawn to it and then the unions can interface.”

The NLC is an umbrella body for more than 40 unions across the country and is recognised by the International Labour Organisation (ILC) as the definitive union representing Nigerian workers.

The other umbrella for unions in the country, with a national spread, is the Trade Union Congress.

In 2016, a third umbrella body for unions, the United Labour Congress (ULC) emerged.

President Muhammadu Buhari, signed a new minimum wage into law last April, but its implementation has been stalled over disagreement between union and government representatives on how to review real wages in the civil service.

Media recently reported that the federal government had proposed, in addition to the adjustments of the minimum wage of those who are already on level one to level six to reflect the new minimum wage, a consequential salary adjustment of N10,000 per month across the board for all the harmonised salary structure to ensure equity.

This gave rise to the additional cost implication of N158,771,830,326.00 per annum, which has already been captured in the 2019 budget.

However, labour leaders were reportedly adamant that officers on level seven to 14 should also get an additional 30 percent of their salaries, while those on level 15 to level 17 should have 25 percent of their current monthly earnings added to their salaries.

“You can’t give absolute figure for minimum wage increase,” Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress, Mr Musa Lawal stated.

“It is a percentage issue and we told them right from time. It is a question of percentage. Somebody who was on N18,000 who moves to N30,000, what is the difference? It is the percentage difference we are looking for; anything short of that is zero and we are not taking it. That is the position of labour.”

Lawal, also noted that it was incorrect to say previous minimum wage reviews had not reflected percentage as increase as labour is now demanding.

“They had a table that ensured that no one was cheated,” he said. “If they present the table, we will look at it, but they have not presented the table. As it is now, what the federal government is offering is useless and cannot be taken. They should give us paperwork on what they are saying and we will respond officially.”

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.

Economy

Experts Recount Nigeria Losses Ahead Possible Rebuilding, Recovery

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Made in Nigeria Textile

Economic Experts Recount Losses Incurred from the #EndSARS Protest Ahead Possible Rebuilding, Recovery

Economic experts have started releasing reports on the size of the damage done to the nation’s economy following the #EndSARS protest that was hijacked by hoodlums and criminals.

The most affected state, Lagos State, will need about $1 trillion, an equivalent to its annual budget, to recoup the economic value of what was lost to the destruction and looting perpetrated by thieves masquerading as protesters.

A Senior Economist/Head, Research & Strategy, Greenwich Merchant Bank, Ayodeji Ebu, said the unrest and the 24 hours curfew that was later imposed by Lagos State to restore order could cost the state at least N54 billion per day.

He explained that the protest would hurt the nation’s foreign direct investment in the remaining part of the year and as well as the first quarter of 2021.

His words: “While it may be difficult to estimate the exact loss so far, based on the significant contribution of Lagos State (approximately 30%) to Nigeria’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and as over 50 percent of Nigeria’s non-oil industrial capacity is located in Lagos, the impact of the crisis will be enormous.

“This was further compounded with the 24hours curfew that lasted for about four days. Estimating using the Q2’2020 GDP data and assuming there was a total shut down, each day will cost Lagos alone about N54 billon.

Speaking further, Ebu said: “With Lagos the centre of the civil unrest, which account for 70 percent or $1.1 billion of total capital importation in Q2’2020, we expect this to further impact on direct investment in Q4’2020 and Q1’2021.

He expects that insurance claims to also rise in line with the damages done on lives and properties.

Similarly, analysts at Cordros Capital, a Lagos based investment banking firm, reacted to the negative impact of the unrest on the nation’s economy.

The analysts said the nation’s economy could contract by as much as 6.91 percent year-on-year in the final quarter of the year due to the unrest. Therefore, they projected a negative growth rate of 4.15 percent year-on-year for the 2020 fiscal year.

In their words, they said “The transportation, trade, and manufacturing sectors are expected to be the hardest hit.

“On transportation, we expect reduced domestic and international flight operations pending when normalcy is restored.

“Similarly, we expect compliance with curfew directives to hinder the free movement of people and goods across the country, further compounding the woes of the transport sector, which is yet to recover from the COVID-19 induced decline.

“While the manufacturing sector is currently being hampered by FX related issues and an unfriendly business environment, the imposition of curfews will further exacerbate the challenges of the sector.

“For the trade sector, the decline in household consumption brought about by higher food prices and shrinking consumers’ income will cascade into weak wholesale and retail trade in conjunction with the pre-existing supply chain constraints.”

Analysts at Fidelity Securities Limited also added their voices and said the protest may cost the nation more than the N700 billion estimation previously estimated by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce.

They said “The EndSARs protest and eventual escalation of the protest would cost the Nigerian economy way more than N700 billion initially estimated by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce. With the current level of destructions, it may take a while for business to run at full capacity as the government as well as the private sector will first have to channel funding into the destroyed infrastructure in a bid to restore things back to the way it was, before even thinking of further improving on the infrastructure.

“Given the level of destruction, more businesses have been affected, more jobs would be lost, and more families would further fall below the poverty line as a result of the looting and burning of business. This is expected to further worsen the economic situation of the country which was already suffering from the impact of Covid-19. The government at this point would need to think out of the box, if it aims to revitalise the economy in the shortest time, else our GDP growth rate may remain negative even into the new year.

Accordingly, the Electricity Distribution Companies of Nigeria (DISCOs), on Sunday said the destruction of equipment it uses to deliver power and service operations will hurt its revenue generation and service delivery in October and the rest of the fourth quarter.

The DISCOs said “I tell you, assets are been destroyed, which is a significant impact on the industry. The DISCOs are expected to give power and how will it be achieved when our facilities including cables, poles, buildings are destroyed.

“That, however, transcends to money because the DISCOs cannot collect money for bills due to the unrest. Who would want to pay when everybody is angry.

“This means the remittance will be low to the Government on power we have collected. The protest has empowered Nigerians to fight back and the threat to lynch officials collecting bill are high. The properties and cables would have to be fixed on whose account?

“Seriously we are at a crossroad but we have signed an agreement to deliver power and that we would do.”

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Nigeria Mulls Selling Electricity to Republic of Chad

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Nigeria Considers Selling Electricity to the Republic of Chad

The Federal Government is presently considering selling electricity to the Republic of Chad after a request was made by the neigbouring nation.

The federal government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria disclosed this on Sunday, adding that a meeting was held last week to discuss the possibilities of plugging the Republic of Chad to the nation’s grid.

Nigeria presently exports electricity to three neighbouring nations, Benin, Togo and the Republic of Niger despite struggling with power supply at home and failed to up its power generation more than the current level of 3,000 -4,500 megawatts in recent years.

On Sunday, the total power generated declined to 3,474.5MW as of 6am, down from 3,776.5MW on Saturday, according to the latest data from the Nigerian Electricity System Operator.

The total number of idle plants rose from 8 on Saturday to 11 on Sunday. These idle plants were Geregu II, Sapele II, Alaoji, Olorunsogo II, Omotosho II, Ihovbor, Gbarain, Ibom Power, AES, ASCO and Trans-Amadi.

A total of twenty-seven plants were presently connected to the national grid, which is being managed by the TCN.

Meeting between Ministry of Power, TCN, and the Chadian Minister of Energy, Mrs Ramatou Mahamat Houtouin, to discuss the possibilities of connecting the Republic of Chad to the Nigerian national grid [was held] on Wednesday, October 21, 2020,” the TCN said on its Twitter handle on Sunday, alongside pictures of the meeting.

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Nigerians Turned to Chinese Products as Cost of US Goods Surged Amid Two Currency Devaluations this Year Alone

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Nigeria Imports More of Chinese Products in Second Quarter

The rising cost of American imports has forced importers and many households in Nigeria to embrace Chinese products as they struggle to adjust to two currency devaluations in one single year.

A recent report from the National Bureau of Statitics (NBS) shows that 31.41 percent of goods imported into the country in the second quarter were from China.

In the report titled ‘Foreign trade in goods statistics’ for second quarter of 2020, Spain led Nigeria’s exported nations for goods.

The report read in part, “Nigeria’s imports, by country of origin, shows goods were imported mainly from China (N1.26tn or 31.41 per cent), United States (N428.9bn or 10.66 per cent), India (N322.3bn or 8.01 per cent), and the Netherlands (N202.9bn or 5.04 per cent) respectively.

“The value of exports in Q2, 2020 stood at N2.22tn, a decrease of 45.64 per cent compared to Q1, 2020 and 51.73 per cent compared to Q2, 2019.

“The year to date export amounted to N6.3tn, representing a 31 per cent decline compared to 2019.

“Exports by section revealed that mineral products accounted for the largest portion of exports, amounting to N1.87tn or 84.35 per cent, mainly due to the crude oil component.”

The increase in Chinese import is likely due to the plunge in Naira against the US dollar and the general dollar scarcity that prevent importers from accessing the greenback. This, coupled with two devaluations of the local currency forced many businesses and mini-importers to embrace Yuan goods against the usual US dollar.

Further breakdown of the report showed that Nigeria export mostly to Europe with goods valued at N976.5 billion or 44 per cent exported in the second quarter. Asia followed with goods worth N734.1 billion or 33.08 per cent.

While African nations accounted for N401.4 billion or 18.1 per cent, America received N105.8 billion or 4.8 per cent export goods and Oceania imported N1.7 billion or 0.08 per cent from Nigeria during the period under review.

Within Africa, Nigeria exports goods valued at N149.3 billion to ECOWAS member nations.

While all regions recorded declines in the value of exported goods during the quarter, China and Japan recorded increased in export activity.

The NBS stated, “Exports by country of destination showed that Nigeria exported goods to Spain valued at (N310.8bn or 14 per cent), Netherlands (N243.7bn or 10.98 per cent), China (N220.4bn or 9.9 per cent), India (N195.6bn or 8.8 per cent) and South Africa (N172.2 or 7.7 per cent).

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