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TUC Knocks FG for N24.3tn Debts, Inflation, Others



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  • TUC Knocks FG for N24.3tn Debts, Inflation, Others

The outgoing President of the Trade Union Congress, Mr Bobboi Kaigama, has knocked the Federal Government on the country’s debt profile and the increasing rate of inflation in the country.

He expressed these concerns at the opening of the Triennial National Delegates Conference of the union in Abuja on Thursday, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

He further noted that it became more worrisome as little efforts were being made to solve the issue by those concerned.

Kaigama noted that with the country’s current debt profile still at N24.3tn, efforts must be geared towards ending borrowing and looking inwards for self-sufficiency.

“Our economy is in dire strait, regrettably, those who should manage it are not showing promising signs on how to fix it. Nigeria’s debt profile is over N24.3tn, it was reported recently that the government wants to borrow more.

“Borrowing in itself is not a bad thing, the issue is what you borrow for. Countries borrow for capital projects, and not to pay salaries. If we cannot bequeath wealth to our children, why burden them with debts?’’

He said with the revenue generated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, NIPOST, NNPC, NIMASA, NAPIMS and the monies recovered by the EFCC and ICPC, Nigeria should not be borrowing.

Kaigama said with the rate of inflation standing between 11.28 and 11.44 per cent for goods and services, there was an adverse effect on purchasing power for citizens, calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Government to ensure the smooth running of the economy.

He said, “Comrades, the current Consumer Price Index also known as the inflation rate for goods and services hovers between 11.28 and 11.44 per cent. This, of course, has had an adverse effect on the purchasing power of the citizens and also leads to bad debt for commercial banks. There is uncertainty in the system.

“We urge the CBN to take drastic action on that to avoid the pain of a double digit inflation rate. In addition, we urge the government to improve our operating environment to ensure the smooth running of the economy

He also decried the secrecy surrounding crude oil refinery in the country, noting that adequate information should be made available to Nigerians on both the internally and externally generated earnings.

The President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, emphasised the need to address the global imbalance in which more people lived below the poverty line, given the growing global wealth.

He called for unity among the organised labour, arguing that it was only through such that workers’ demands could be met.

He said, “The rules cannot be changed through wishful thinking, our leaders must be instigated to promote the rights of Nigerian workers.’’

On his part, the Vice- Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Prof Suleiman Mohammed, while commending the TUC and its affiliates at promoting the rights of workers, urged them to continue in unity and solidarity.

Delivering a lecture with the theme, ‘Labour and nation-building, the place of labour in national politics’’, he said the role of the organised labour existed to ultimately to make the ruling class do the right thing.

He noted that the political leaders in all tiers of government had continued to use the instrumentality of power to disempowered workers.

He, however, called for more political consciousness to promote workers’ rights.

The don charged them to continue to promote industrial justice and fight for the protection of workers’ interest in all tiers of government.

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, who also spoke at the event, called on the organised labour to continue to speak up against corruption in the society, especially issues like the overbloated salary of elected leaders.

He assured them of legal assistance in case of any litigation involving the organised labour, as he had a legal team for that purpose.

He said, “We are happy that labour has achieved the new minimum wage of N30,000 but I must say that it is not enough. I want to see labour protest against corruption, huge salaries of political office holders and their cronies.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial market.

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Nigeria’s Main Refineries Record N406.62bn Loss in Two Years



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Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Warri Refinery posts N406.62bn Deficit in Two Years

Nigeria’s three main refineries recorded N406.62 billion loss in two years, according to the audited financial statements from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The three refineries located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day, however, the refineries have continued to function below the installed capacity.

The audited report showed the Kaduna refinery posted N64.34 billion loss in 2018, better than the N111.89 billion loss reported in 2017.

While Warri refinery filed N44.44 billion loss for 2018, also better than the N81.60 billion loss posted in 2017.

Port Harcourt refinery reported N45.59 billion loss in 2018, down from N55.76 billion loss posted in 2017.

The Nigerian government has spent billions of US dollars in maintaining and trying to improve the dilapidated refineries over the years. However, because of the inability of the three refineries to meet daily petrol demands of the Nigerian people, the Federal Government resulted to importation that has eroded the nation’s foreign reserves.

A recent report from the NNPC showed that Nigeria spent N2.37 trillion on petrol importation between May 2019 and May 2020 despite the nation struggling with falling foreign reserves due to low oil prices.

The weak foreign reserves has disrupted the nation’s economic outlook and weighed on the Nigerian Naira. The Naira has been devalued by 15 percent this year and was recently adjusted from N360 per US dollar exchange rate to N380/US$ for importers and investors to ease pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves.

Last week, at a summit organised by Seplat, Mallam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, said the three refineries were all idle despite the money being spent on them.

In Nigeria today, we are importing practically every petroleum product that we consume in this country.

“We are working to make sure that we are able to fix our refineries,” Kyari stated.

All hopes are now on Dangote’s refinery.

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and the world’s richest black man, is presently constructing a 650,000 barrels per day refinery.

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Osinbajo Says FG Plans to Create 5 Million Jobs



Buhari and Osinbajo

FG to Create 5m Jobs from Strategic Investments in Manufacturing, Agriculture

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said the Federal Government plans to create at least 5 million jobs in the next few years.

Osinbajo, who spoke at the Virtual Presidential Policy Dialogue Session organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the Buhari-led administration is focused on job creation.

He, therefore, stated that this would be achieved with strategic investments in key sectors like the manufacturing and agriculture sectors.

The Vice President said, “We are to create jobs and boost our national housing programme. We would be intentional in the support of manufacturers in using our local raw materials. We are seriously engaging the use of cement in building our roads, as it will be cheaper for us and more durable.

“We are targeting electrification of five million households with solar power, and we are supporting SMEs, especially in the pharmaceuticals to enhance the production of personal protective equipment.”

Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, the President of LCCI, who also spoke at the event, expressed concerns over the failure of the Nigerian Customs Service to adhere to the Executive Order which forbids Customs checkpoints around the ports and within given geographical delimitations in the country.

She also noted the slow pace of reforms in the oil and gas sector, one of the nation’s main sectors. According to her, the oil and gas sector was another cause for worry, saying up till now the PIB passed has not been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to her, “Closure of the land borders has enormous implications for cross border economic activities around the country. The indications are now that the closure is indefinite. While we share the concern of government on issues of security and smuggling, we believe that the indefinite closure of land borders is not the solution to the problem.

“We are excited about the signing of the AFCTA. But we need to get ourselves ready for the pressure of competition inherent in the continental economic integration agenda. A number of commitments were made about the creation of an environment that would enable the private sector to be competition ready. But not much has happened in this regard so far.

“We are aware of the efforts of government to fix our infrastructure, including roads and railways, but funding has remained a major challenge. We would like to see a new funding model with much bigger focus on private sector capital within a Public Private Partnership [PPP] framework for infrastructure development in the country.

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Fuel Scarcity: NUPENG to Commence Strike on Monday



Petrol Importation

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.

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