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Subsidy Removal: Tinubu Pledges Review of Minimum Wage




By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Friday in Abuja said improved livelihood for Nigerians remains a top priority of his administration, with more people-focused economic policies, assuring that the national minimum wage needs a review to reflect realities.

The President, who received members of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) led by the Chairman, Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, at the State House, said the national and sub-national governments will work together on the minimum wage, which already requires “soul searching.


“We need to do some arithmetic and soul searching on the minimum wage,’’ he said.

“We will have to take a look at that together, and the revenue.
We must strengthen the source and application of our revenue.’’

Tinubu urged the governors to seize the opportunity of being chosen among millions of citizens in their states to make a difference in the lives of people, adding that he will work for the benefit of Nigerians. 

“This meeting is not strange to me, and the content of the meeting is so valuable. The camaraderie is very stimulating. This is about the Nigerian project, not Bola Tinubu,’’ he said.

The President said that the multiple exchange rates will be streamlined, noting that governance was a continuum.

“I have inherited the assets and liabilities of my predecessor. This is the first time you entered the Council Chambers, and it is my first time too for a meeting.

“As progressives and thinkers under the umbrella of the All Progressives Congress (APC), you have a role to play in educating our people and making sure we manage ourselves,’’ the President told the governors.

Tinubu said it was a good and encouraging sign that the APC has a majority in the National Assembly and some Houses of Assembly, which will make it easier to develop policies that will directly impact the economy and the people.

“If we work together, the Nigeria of our dreams is not far away. Rest assured that we will not have multiple exchange rates anymore.  You asked for this meeting, and I had to set aside time to be here.

“We have a political party that we will need to manage, whichever way, we have inherited assets and liabilities, and we cannot complain,’’ he stated.

Tinubu said he would maintain an open-door policy, willing to entertain issues, deliberate, and collectively find solutions to the challenges facing the country, including security.

“It is in our hands, and I am ready to work and listen at any time,’’ he added.

In his remarks, the Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima, called on the governors to rally around the President as he tackles the challenges that stagnate the economy, like the oil subsidy and multiple exchange rates.

“Let us rally around the President and not bulge, there are vested interests that may want to resist the subsidy removal. Its removal will free resources for the development of your states,” he added.

Earlier, the Governor of Imo State pledged the support of the Progressive Governors to the President, noting that the initial decisions already foretell good intentions for the economy.

“We are here today as members of the APC to fraternize with you as our leader, and congratulate you on your election as President, and Commander-in-Chief.

“We are using this opportunity to express our support for you at this trying time in our history,’’ he said.

Uzodinma noted that the President had started well, by placing the economy and welfare of the people on a priority list, with honesty of purpose.

“We are aware of your capacity and excellent track record,’’ the PGF Chairman stated.

The Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, said the development of the national and sub-national economies remains interwoven, assuring that President Tinubu would receive their support to succeed.

Other governors present at the meeting were Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum and Governor of Kwara State,  AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos,  Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, and Dikko Radda of Katsina State.

Governors Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Hyacinth Alia of Benue, Umar Bago of Niger, Nasir Idris of Kebbi, Uba Sani of Kaduna, Umar Namadi of Jigawa, Nwifuru Francis Ogbonna of Ebonyi , Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto, and Bassey Otu of Cross-River State were also present.

At the meeting, the President announced the appointment of Femi Gbajabiamila as Chief of Staff, Sen. Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia as Deputy Chief of Staff, and George Akume as Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), threw its weight behind the federal government on the decision to remove petrol subsidy.

The governors, who were elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), expressed their support during a courtesy call on President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

However, the governors also voiced their concern over the sudden hike in petrol prices following the president’s inaugural speech. 

The PGF Chairman, told State House Correspondents after the meeting with the President, owever, condemned the price increase on what he describes as “old stuck” and called on Nigerians to rally behind the government’s decision to remove the subsidy. 


Subsidy Removal: NLC Demands 200% Wage Award For Workers As Palliative




The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has proposed to the Tinubu-led Federal government a 200 per cent Wage Award to workers as part of measures to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal which has been causing hardship to Nigerians.

While speaking on Monday night, September 18, the president of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, said the wage grant became necessary following economic difficulties imposed on workers by the over 200 per cent increase in the pump price of fuel in the country.

Ajaero said what the NLC was seeking was for the government to conclude the issue of wage award before delving into that of minimum wage.

He said considering the percentage of the hike in the pump price of fuel, labour would be asking for “almost 200 percent in wage award.

“We would have addressed the issue of CNG for instance and where people pay N500 per litre of fuel, maybe they will be paying less than that on CNG,” he said to Channels TV.

“We agreed that the federal government has had more than enough time for the past four months, even if there is commitment and genuineness of purpose that between now and next few days issues will be resolved and we hope that the minister will work with us within the next few days to make sure we resolve the matter.”

When asked a question on why the Trade Union Congress (TUC) was holding a separate meeting with the government, Ajaero said both the NLC and TUC are independent labour centres.

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Strike: Aremu Urges Truce Between FG, Labour Unions




Mr Issa Aremu, the Director General, Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, has called for truce between the Federal Government and the organised labour to avert threat of strike.

Making the appeal in a statement issued on Thursday in Ilorin, Aremu observed that the organised labour’s threat to embark on industrial action is preventable.

He attributed the threat of strike to the attendant hardship of fuel subsidy withdrawal and other sundry economic issues.

He expressed optimism that the two parties would soon find a common ground to avert the looming industrial action.

The MINILS director-general also advised the federal government and labour unions, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), to return to a “rewarding negotiations and compromises” to prevent the strike.

He noted that actions of President Bola Tinubu in the last few months of his inauguration showed that he is concerned about the plight of every Nigerian.

Aremu added that the two Ministers of Labour have also expressed their readiness to sustain the ongoing negotiations with the organised labour.

“Strikes are just the means, not the end. The end is improved welfare for working men and women at these challenging times. I know that President Tinubu is concerned about the plight of all. His quotable quote is ‘let the poor breath’.

“The Honourable Minister of Labour, Simon Lanlong, and Minister of State Labour, Ikiru, have also demonstrated commitment to dialogue with NLC and TUC. Strikes are therefore preventable.

“I think both government and organised labour will soon find a common ground. Strike is certainly not inevitable, indeed it is preventable but through rewarding negotiations and compromises by the two parties,” Aremu said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NLC had issued an ultimatum to the federal government to provide wage award, palliatives and other relief packages to the masses in view of the pain that characterised the removal of fuel subsidy. (NAN)

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Reps Suspend Job Racketeering Probe over Planned Labour Strike




By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja 

Some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government on Monday, temporarily, heaved a sigh of relief, as the ongoing probe on job racketeering by the House of Representatives, was shut down following the planned strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC).

The planned industrial action by the Organized Labour was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 5th and Wednesday 6th September, 2023.

Speaking at the supposed resumed hearing on Monday, Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi (APC-Plateau) explained that the hearing was postponed to enable all the MDAs invited, prepare and make their presentations.

Only on Friday, the panel had announced Monday as its next adjourned date, after taking the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Vice Chancellor’s of federal Universities.

At the Friday hearing, the Committee of Vice Chancellors  had conveyed the position of the Vice Chancellors on the purported extortion and bribery allegation claims against the House Adhoc committee, stating that the allegation was not only untrue but very mischievous.

The Vice Chancellors, who denied ever bribing the committee to escape the probe, said rather, they were eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the work of the committee as they have confidence that it would help them address the issue of manpower shortage in the Universities. 

Vice Chancellor, University of Jos, Prof. Ishaya Tanko who spoke on behalf of the Vice Chancellors when they appeared before the committee said to his best of knowledge money that were sent by some Vice Chancellors  was meant for a foreign exchange for them to attend international workshop organised for them in Bamingham, the United Kingdom beginning from Tuesday, September 5, adding that the publisher did not get his facts correct 

He said “During our last meeting, we requested for two weeks because some of the universities did not come with some of the documents required from them. 

“But we read the very disturbing media publication and I can say that the Vice Chancellors are not part of that.  The Vice Chancellors have not provided any bribe to anybody. 

“What I recalled happened was that the next day, there was a workshop for the Vice Chancellors and because there is another international workshop organised for CVCNU,  I recalled that a number of people were looking for estacode in form of foreign exchange that will enable them travel.  

“I also remember that a number of Vice Chancellors were looking for where to get foreign exchange that is reasonable considering the fact that it is difficult to get DTA to travel.  I can confirm that majority of the Vice Chancellors are going to travel between Saturday and Monday because the training os commencing on Tuesday in Bamingham.

“Somebody suggested that gentleman and suggested that Vice Chancellors who wish to source foreign exchange from him can transfer some money to him to get foreign exchange to travel. 

“To say that Vice Chancellors are transferring money for bribe is completely out of context and not true.  Who ever made the publication refused to find out the fact before going to press.  They should have contacted some of the Vice Chancellors to find out the purpose for which they made those transfers.  

“I want to assure the committee that we have hope and confidence in this committee because as we speak, I can tell you that more than five programmes of the University of Jos are in danger of not receiving accreditation because of this issue of employment. 

“So, we are looking forward to this committee concluding it’s work so that the challenges relating to employment in Nigeria universities are addressed so that we can continue to provide the quality manpower we need for the development of this country”

Prof. Tanko said the university system in the country is during a major crisis as a result of lack of employment, but expressed their commitment to working together to ensure that the University system continue to stand on the integrity and mandate for which it was created. 

He said “When this committee invited us to a meeting with regard to issues of employment, and other issues, we as Vice Chancellors were very happy that we were invited to offer our perspective because the public university sector is actually in crisis with respect to employment as we speak. 

“Infact, majority of public universities has not bad the opportunity to replace some some of the Professors that we have lost especially before the period that this committee is investigating.  We felt that is a great opportunity for the university sector to address some the challenges that we are having in getting the required manpower for the running of our universities”. 

Acting Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) John Maiyaki said the publication on the bribery allegations was regretable noting that the NUC has confidence in the mandate given to the committee to help in resolving some crisis in the education sector regarding job racketeering.

He said “ Chair, Honourable members the online social media publication is regrettable, whatever the substance is we do not in any way wish that this will impede on the excellent ties and relationship between this vital arm of government and the Nigerian University system. This is one system that holds a lot of promise for the Nigerian University system.

“In every country university system occupy a special place in the life of a Nation and we believe the task is too Herculean for one sub sector alone to handle and that’s why we look up to the National Assembly, we also look up to the future so that we can together create that game changing opportunity for the country. 

He said however that the University community will not allow the publication to affect what he described as strategic relationship and partnership existing between them and the National Assembly. 

Given their submissions, Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi said the committee has resolved that it would not be distracted from the central issue it was put in place to address.

According to him, the publication was aimed at diverting the attention of the committee, saying “as far as we are concerned, we maintained our stand that it is a sponsored publication so that this committee will lose focus from what it is supposed to do.

He said it was not the mandate of the committee to investigate the allegations but to investigate the selling of slots, employment imbalance, job racketeering and many other fraudulent activities that is being done in our public service. 

He however said that the  committee had written to anti corruption agencies and the EFCC to investigate the link between the account and any member of the committee. 

He disclosed that Members of the committee have resolved to take legal action If investigation by the anti graft agencies failed to link the account number to any member of the committee.

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