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Ogun Protest Anti-poor Policies

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Organised Labour in Ogun has yesterday shutdown major roads in Abeokuta, to protest the removal fuel subsidy by the federal government.

The workers demanded the immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.

They described the removal of fuel subsidy, hike in school fees and VAT as anti-people policies.

The workers also demanded the release of eight months withheld salaries of university lecturers and an end to what they described as inhuman actions and policies of the government.

According to them, the policies had brought untold hardships to Nigerian workers and further worsened the living condition of the people.

Armed with various placards, the workers marched from the NLC secretariat in Leme area of Abeokuta metropolis to the governor’s office in Oke-Mosan preventing free vehicular movement.

Some of the inscriptions on their placards read: “Let the poor breathe, don’t suffocate them”, “Stop importation of petrol, revive the refineries now!!!”, “Stop the looting, tax the rich and subsidise the poor” and “Give workers what is due”.

Addressing the workers, the state NLC chairman Hammed Ademola said that the protest was in compliance with the directive of the national body of the union.

“We have to be on the street; we must not wait until we die. Our destiny is always in our hands and now is the right time for us to tell the government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that we Nigerians are suffering.

“The fuel subsidy removal has caused a lot of hardship; untold hardship onto the masses of this nation. We are suffering, we have crude oil yet we are still buying abroad, enough is enough,” Ademola said.

His TUC counterpart, Akeem Lasisi demanded the reversal of fuel subsidy, saying that “subsidy is the constitutional responsibility of any government.

He submitted that subsidy is a global practice, adding that it was unfortunate that “in this country, our own subsidy is marred with corruption.

“Instead of government to remove the corruption in subsidy, they removed subsidy itself,” he said.

The workers also demanded the repair of Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries. 

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Strike: FG Okays 30 Days Implementation of MoU with Labour

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The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday approved a 30 day implementation plan for the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU between the Federal Government and the Organized Labour.

The government also is taking a decision against any external interference in unions activities by external bodies.

This is as the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong alongside the Minister of State, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha have met with the factional leaderships of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, presided over by President Bola Tinubu, at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, Lalong said a Memorandum was presented to the council on the implementation of the agreement with labour.

He said, “We presented a memo from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the memo was basically on the agreement between government and the labour. You are already aware that 15 items are parts of the agreement.

“But we went beyond mere agreement, we told them that something different this time is happening because one, part of the agreement is to file it in the court of law which we have set the process already.

“And the other one was the presidential approval. There cannot be any presidential approval more than the Federal Executive Council. So we presented them to the Federal Executive Council. We analyzed each and every aspect of the agreement and to show the genuineness and also provide for harmonious and good industrial relationship and that was why it was presented and it was approved for implementation.

“It was agreed that within 30 days, there must be evidence of implementation and that was the basis of presenting to the Federal Executive Council the memo and the Federal Executive Council also approved it and within this 30 days, we will go on with the implementation of the agreement between labour and government.”

Fielding on the item six of the MoU which was the government alleged interference in the activities of the democratically elected leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW and the mandate to him (Lalong) to resolve the crisis in the union on or before October 13, the Minister said he had already met with the various factions

He said, “Item six in the MoU is about interference specifically with issues that were about road transport workers. Immediately the next day, we embarked on meetings between the two organisations.

“As of today, they have already reached out and have concluded that of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, today they are making a report to the ministry about their agreement because they went into agreement too and we are also going to get back to their parent association.

“The next one is the NURTW. Last week we were with them. Of course if some of you were there, you knew why we postponed it, I reminded them that we are keeping to the date of the agreement but they said they cannot strictly keep to the date because it is very important to them that we realized the aim. So we shifted the meeting till tomorrow. Today, we are going to get the report, by tomorrow we will fix a meeting.

“The reason why we presented these items to the Federal Executive Council is for them to note and approve that after these things we will not want to be tolerating interference into union activities.”But those that are pending are within the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. Our own is to dispense with conflicts and we are going to continue to do that and these two items we have mentioned, were really the particular things they hammered on when we met. By God’s grace in the next few days, those ones are going to be sorted out.”

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Lending to Governments: SGF Urges Banks to Follow FRA Rules

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume has called on banks to follow  provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) when lending to Governments in the Federation and their institutions.

A statement by Bede Anyanwu, Head of Strategic Communications at the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) said Akume made the call in a keynote address at a Stakeholder Dialogue on Saturday in Lagos.

He said dialogue was aimed at promoting fiscal discipline.

Akume was represented by a staff in the SGF`s Office,  Dr. David Eze.

The SGF affirmed that following the rule was to ensure that borrowing was done the right way for the right reasons to improve fiscal sustainability.

He  encouraged  all  stakeholders  to  commit  to  more  prudent management of public finances to achieve desired outcomes.

The Executive Chairman of the FRC, Victor Muruako equally called on all Nigerian banks to adhere to the provisions of  the FRA  2007  in  their  lending  practices  to government and its agencies.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 is Nigeria’s foremost legal framework for the  promotion,  monitoring  and enforcement  of fiscal discipline.

“It stipulates in Section 45(2), that lending by banks to governments or their agencies in contravention of the provisions  of  the  Act  shall  be  unlawful.

“PART  X  of  the  act  provides  guidelines  for borrowing by government agencies and public institutions, including the requirement for obtaining the necessary approvals and proof of compliance to ensure the sustainability of loans.

“Recognising the critical role that loans play in driving socio-economic development, the FRC  brought  banks  together  with  regulators,  policy  makers  and  government  in  the Stakeholder  Dialogue  to  highlight the  provisions  of the  FRA  on  responsible  lending.

“Discussions focused on measures to enhance compliance to improve the nation’s debt management practices,” the statement said.

The FRC boss emphasized the importance of compliance with the FRA to improve loan performance, to maintain macro-economic stability.

“We  are  committed  to  good  corporate  governance,  fiscal  stability  and  the pursuit of economic development to improve the lives of citizens while improving our nation’s   viability.

“We,   therefore,   enjoin   all   stakeholders   to   support   the   bold macroeconomic reform initiatives of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu  by  ensuring  more  fiscal  discipline  in  line  with  the  provisions  of  the  FiscalResponsibility Act 2007 (FRA) .”

The chairman said that the  provisions  of the  FRA  serve to  keep the  lender, borrower, regulator, evaluator, assessor, and indeed the beneficiary of public sector loans on the same page.

Mr. Greg  Jobome, Executive   Director,   Risk Management Division, Access Bank who responded   on   behalf  of  the   banks. Said  they will continue to work together with  stakeholders  to    foster  responsible lending  practices, transparency, and accountability.

The FRC Stakeholder Dialogue brought together a diverse group of participants including banking Institutions, government representatives, economists, academics and experts in fiscal governance.(NAN)

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Nigeria Can’t be Surviving on Debt at 63rd Independence Anniversary- Deputy Speaker

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The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, has expressed concern about Nigeria’s reliance on debt at 63 years of Independence anniverary.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ dialogue on the implementation of Section 45 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, on Saturday in Lagos, Kalu said the nation needs to be self-sufficient and independent instead of relying on loans.

Kalu, represented by Mr Nalaraba Abubakar, Chairman, House Committee on Loans and Debt Management, said previous governments sustained budgets through loans but an approach he considered not sustainable.

He also said that the compliance of the provisions of Section 45 of the FRA remains crucial to the banks and other financial institutions before lending to any government of the federation.

“Lending by banks and financial institutions is contravention to the FRA 2007 is unlawful,” the  lawmaker said.

Kalu said it was imperative for banks and financial institutions to comply with the provisions outlined in Section 45 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act before they lend to the government.

He noted that it was essential to consider the authorised borrowing limit specified in the appropriation Act and adhere to the extant provisions of Section 45.

The deputy speaker expressed his disappointment that state governments were borrowing for consumption rather than focusing on long-term capital expenditure for production purposes.

According to him, the trend worsens the country’s inflation and inhibits economic growth.

Kalu urged state governments to explore their own potentials and enhance local production to increase internally generated revenue instead of relying solely on the Federal Government.

“We encourage states to stop depending on federal government and boost their local production, thereby increasing internally generated revenue.

“I commend FRC in its responsibility of keeping up with promoting a transparent and accountable government fiscal management framework for Nigeria,” the deputy speaker said.

 He, however, expressed disappointment that the authorities in charge of monitoring inflow of grants into the country had no proper record of the grants.

“These grants do not just pass through the thin air, but by processes, which the commercial banks are involved in.

“It is important for commercial banks to liaise with the government by making disclosure on the inflow of the grants,” he said.

According to him, accumulation of those aids and grants are crippling the economy, which has become unbearable.

Kalu confirmed that the 10th Assembly wasprepared to introduce legislation that would bring transparency to the processes of grants entering the country.

He said it also plans to enact a law compelling commercial banks to disclose the sources of grants, their beneficiaries, and who holds custody of the funds.

He noted that these measures aim to provide greater oversight and accountability in the management of grants in the country.

The lawmaker said: “We have billions of dollars coming into Nigeria as grants, but cannot pin point where the grants are going into in the economy.

“So, it’s important that the commercial work together with the government to rebuild the country, because a bouyant economy would also contribute in the activities of the banks too.”  (NAN)

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