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National minimum wage: Task Must be Done Well — TUC

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The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has again urged the federal government to inaugurate the National Minimum Wage Committee, to give it ample time to do its work diligently.

TUC’s Deputy President, Mr Tommy Okon, said this on Tuesday, in Lagos, that the failure to inaugurate the committee, three months to the expiration of the current minimum wage, was worrisome.

He said that organised labour would not want to be put under pressure on the wage increase,  because it had to be done in line with the rule of engagement.

The labour leader said that organised labour had since submitted the list of members that would be part of the committee for the minimum wage negotiations.

“Whatever intention of government is not known to us, because by now, the committee should have been inaugurated.

“We do not want a situation where the work of the committee is done under desperation because this is January, and the N30,000 national minimum wage will expire on April 18, this year (2024).

“So, it is expected that by now the committee will have been inaugurated and a chairman of the committee appointed, because it is tripartite in nature, and the committee has to conduct the activities also on zonal bases.

“Thereafter, it will come to a conclusion where, whatever will be agreed, will also be sent to the National Assembly, which in turn, will also look at the public hearing, and thereafter, sent to Mr President for assent, “ he said.

Okon said there were both positive and negative implications in further delay of setting up the committee.

According to him, the positive is in the sense that government may have agenda unknown to labour and trying to be sure of what it wants to come out with.

“However, the negative implication is that it may send a wrong signal that government is not willing to negotiate the national minimum wage and that that will be a very wrong impression if the public is taking that as the position.

“Also, Nigerian workers and the masses are not finding it easy because of the socio economic challenges.

“We know that the N30,000 minimum wage cannot do anything, must less of transportation, payment of house rent, children’s school fees, even taking care of some life threatening challenges.

“So, these are the implications; it is also going to send a negative signal to even international communities because now, we are talking about transition to energy; these are things that need to be put in place, “ Okon said.

He said the issue of the National Minimum Wage review was a task that must be done well.

The Federal Government had on Jan. 17 pledged to fulfill its agreements with organised labour.

Mrs Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, made this known during a courtesy visit to the office of the TUC in Abuja.

Onyejeocha said that government appreciated the plight of the trade unions and was ready to partner, but the channels of communication must be kept open.

“Government is working round the clock to ensure that agreements with trade unions are fulfilled,” she had said.

She also said that President Bola Tinubu was focusing on making sure that the issue of a new national minimum wage was addressed.

Onyejeocha added that the federal government would ensure that the committee started work in earnest.

The minister also assured that the government would soon clear the arrears of the N35,000 wage award for workers, which it had started paying.

Recall that the government agreed to pay the wage award to cushion the effect of the removal of petrol subsidy on workers, pending the commencement of the imminent new national minimum wage.

The minister assured the TUC leadership of government’s continued readiness to listen to them, as well as partner with them for the greater good of the people.(NAN)

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PDP Intensifies Consultations with Stakeholders on Rivers Caretaker Committee Crisis

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The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says it will intensify consultations  with the party’s  governors’ forum among other stakeholders to find political solutions to its leadership crisis in Rivers.

The NWC disclosed this in a statement issued by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba in Abuja, after the committee’s meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.

Ologunagba said that the NWC at the meeting, reviewed the issue of the PDP Caretaker Committee of Rivers.

He said that after an extensive deliberation, the NWC noted the existence of an ex-parte order issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja, restraining the NWC from further action with respect to the status of the Rivers State Caretaker Committee List as published.

“However, while the Rivers state caretaker committee list as published stands in compliance with the Order of the Court.

“The NWC notes the concerted intervention and efforts of various organs of the party, particularly the PDP Governors’ Forum to finding a political solution to the issue of the River Caretaker Committee.

“The NWC therefore resolved to, in conjunction with the PDP, intensify action in its continued consultation to resolving the issues of the Rivers State PDP chapter amicably,” he said.(NAN)

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TCN Towers Vandalised Along Jos-Gombe 330KV Transmission Line

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The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) says  four of its towers  along  the  Jos – Gombe 330 Kilo Volt (kV) transmission line have been vandalised.

The company said that the incident took place at about 3:32pm on Monday.

Mrs Ndidi Mbah, TCN’S General Manager Public Affairs said this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mbah said  that when the  transmission line tripped, TCN operators attempted to restore it to service but it tripped again.

She said that this prompted the dispatch of TCN men  to trace the line in order to detect and rectify the fault.

According to her, while  tracing the fault, TCN’s engineering crew discovered that towers 288, 289 , 290, and 291 were vandalised and that some tower members were carted away.

”Also, the towers had equally collapsed as a result of the incident.

”Presently, bulk power supply to Gombe, Yola, and Jalingo substations have been disrupted, affecting bulk power supply to parts of Yola  and Jos Electricity Distribution Companies’ franchise areas,”she said.

Mbah said that to mitigate the effect of the incident on electricity consumers affected by the incident, TCN tried to  back feed Gombe through its 132kV transmission line from Bauchi and subsequently  Ashaka, Potiskum, Damaturu, and Billiri/ Savannah.

She vowed that the company  would do everything humanly possible to ensure that supply was restored to the affected areas, while efforts were being made to reconstruct the  vandalised towers. (NAN)

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Stakeholders Task NASS to Complete Electoral Act Amendment in 2025

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Stakeholders in the electoral process have tasked the National Assembly to complete the amendment of the Electoral Act and the review of the Constitution, two years before the 2027 general elections.

The stakeholders said this in a communique issued on Monday after the National Multi-Stakeholders Forum on Electoral Reform Priorities, held under the auspices of Youth Electoral Reform Priorities.

The participants said this would enable all stakeholders and other Nigerians, to fully understand the changes made to the laws, for effective implementation and compliance.

The participants observed that the processes leading to the 2023 general elections fell below expectations.

“Constitutional reforms to strengthen the electoral process are national priorities for many Nigerians, especially the organisations represented at the multi-stakeholders forum.

“We urge the Federal Government to create special election committee with non-partisan people of impeccable character to take over the power of the President in appointing the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“This committee will also be responsible for appointing INEC National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commmissioners,” they said in the communique.

The stakeholders also said that the amendments should ensure that all pre-election cases were concluded before elections and post-election cases concluded before inauguration of elected officials.

“There is also need for periodic audit of the National Register of Voters.

“INEC should transmit polling unit electlon results in near real-time to the dedicated portal accessible by the public. This should be induded in the Electoral Act amendment.

“INEC should be unbundled by creating the National Electoral Offenses Commission which will have the power to prosecute electoral offenders,” they added.

The participants called on government to empower and expand the scope of the National Orientation Agency to mobilise Nigerians for future elections through effective voter education programme.

“Nigerian youths and otherstakeholders should continue to be actively engaged in the electoral process, beginnng with the constitutional and electoral review,” they said.

The Forum was organised by Kimpact Development lnitiative with the support of National Democratic Institute and National Endowment for Democracy.

It was attended by a wide range of organisations including the Youth Electoral Reform Project; Nigerian Youths Parliament; National Association of Nigerian Students; representatives of political parties; Inter-Party Advisory Council, and the Conference of United Political Parties.

Others were the Nigerian Union of Journalists: Nigerian Labour Congress: Nigerian Bar Association; Christian Association of Nigeria; Jama’atu Nasril Islam; and Nigerian Medical Association.(NAN)

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