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TUC Laments Nigeria Borrowing Profile

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By Martin Paul, Abuja

President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Bobboi Kaigama, has expressed worries over increasing rate of inflation and the country’s debt profile.

At the opening of its Triennial National Delegates Conference in Abuja, Kaigama said it was a matter for regret that little efforts was being made to solve the issue.

According to him, with the country’s current debt profile still at N24.3 trillion, 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 N24.3 trillion, it was reported recently that government wants to borrow more.

“Borrowing in itself is not a bad thing, the issue is what do 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.’’

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 CBN and the federal government to ensure smooth running of the economy.

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

He said with revenues generated from the Federal Inland Revenue service, NIPOST, NNPC, NIMASA, and those recovered by the EFCC and the ICPC, the country has no business borrowing.

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.

Mohammed, who delivered a lecture with the theme, `Labour and Nation Building, The Place of Labour in National Politics’’, said the role of the organised labour cannot be over flogged with an overall goal to unsettle the ruling class.

According to him, the political and elected leaders in all tiers of government have continued to use the instruments of the state to dis-empower workers, calling for more political consciousness to promote their rights.

While commending labour unions for playing monumental role in nation building, the vice chancellor said they must continue to promote industrial justice and fight for the protection of workers’ interest in all tiers of government.

He also called for the involvement of workers in policy formulation and implementation, calling for strengthened collaboration and unity to promote significant roles in checking and influencing government policies and programmes.

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The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr Williams Alo, commended the support of the organised labour in improving lives of Nigerian workers, expressing hope that the new leadership of the union would strengthen the already existing partnership.

Alo pledged the commitment of the federal government to continue to be a dependable ally towards improving the welfare of workers and other Nigerians.

President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Dr Ayuba Wabba, stressed the need to address the global imbalance where more people live below poverty line in spite of the growing global wealth, saying it was more worrisome in the country.

Wabba said the role of unity of purpose cannot be overemphasised in trade unionism, saying it was only through this that workers’ demands are met.

Labour

Group Gives FG 14-day Ultimatum to End ASUU Strike

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By Gom Mirian, Abuja

The Save-Education-Campaign, Nigeria, has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet up with the ASUU demands for campuses to re-open or risk mass protest.

The group issued the ultimatum yesterday at a conference, tagged: “save – public – education campaign”, held in Abuja.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Comrade Vivian Bello lamented that the continued strike was an organized crime against students’ career and educational pursuits.

She further lamented the meager allocation for education sector in the country, said only N1. 29tn (7.9%) is budgeted for education in the year 2022 which is a far-cry from UNESCO’s standard recommendation of 26% minimum.

“We make bold to say, that if government will recognize the futility in its so-called insecurity-fighting campaign, change strategy and invest a greater proportion of the resources it is expending in the insecurity campaign in providing robust, efficient and quality educational system and structure and qualitatively educate its teeming citizenry, within a calculated period of time, insecurity will gradually die a natural death in Nigeria and the society will take on its hitherto regular and peaceful equilibrium

“We submit boldly that, Education can be a veritable panacea to insecurity in Nigeria,” she added.

In a communique jointly signed by the Co-Convener of the group, Comrade Dimeji Macaulay, the group damands that “the negotiation process of the strike action, including as led by the Prof Nimi Briggs committee, be immediately concluded and SIGNED.(We demand an end to the lingering foot-dragging).

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“The IPPIS has been specifically described and pointed out with evidence, by the striking academic unions as problematic, inconsistent and fraudulent. The Platform should therefore be set aside while the proposed more credible alternatives; UTAS, U3PS deployed accordingly.

“We call for immediate payment of ALL withheld salaries of the striking academic unions. Having become aware of a proposed bill by the Senate to establish financial Aid Scheme for students; we demand that such proposed Scheme be clearly explained to Nigerians.

“We want to see a properly public funded education at all levels in Nigeria and not creating another looting avenue or portfolio for some unscrupulous mindless public officials.

 “That in view of the gravity of the situation, we make a clarion call for unity and coming together of staff unions, students, workers and communities across the Country, to mobilize and get ready for civic mass actions to compel the government to take the necessary steps to end the strike and have the millions of our children and students, return to school to end the jeopardy of their Education and future.

“Therefore, we wish to state unequivocally that, If the strike action lingers, we will be forced to commence another round of mass protests Nationwide to bring an end to the unjust denial of innocent Nigerians their Right to Education”.

See also  NLC, TUC Reach Truce With FG, Suspend Nationwide Strike
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Business News

Bakers Threaten Strike over Rising Cost of Flour, Sugar

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By Joseph Amah, Abuja

The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) has threatened to withdraw their services nationwide, citing a hike in the price of bakery materials, neglect of by federal government and fleecing by regulatory agencies. 
The association said this on Friday in a communiqué issued after a meeting of its national executive council in Abuja.


In the communiqué, signed by the association’s executives, led by Mansur Umar, its national president, the bakers said they would commence an initial two-week strike from July 13, 2022.


They said the cost of flour, sugar and other materials used in the bakery business had soared beyond the reach of many bakers.


The group also said efforts to get the government’s intervention in the matter had been unsuccessful, as there had been no positive response from the concerned ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.


“Increase in prices of bakery materials, especially flour and sugar having reached unprecedented levels, for example, flour is now between N25,000 and N27,500, so also other ingredients,” it reads.


“The National Wheat Cultivation Committee already constituted is yet to be inaugurated after over one year. NAFDAC, SON, and NESREA have turned the bakers into money-making machines by charging our members outrageous levies even at this very challenging moment.

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“Consequently, the NEC in session resolved that all zones, state, Local Governments and units of our association should commence full mobilisation of our members nationwide to embark on withdrawal of services starting from Wednesday, July 13, 2022, for an initial period of two weeks.”


The association, however, told its members to await further directives.
In March, bakers complained that the hike in diesel price and exchange rate volatility caused many of its members across the country to shut down their business operations. 



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Business News

Fuel Crisis: IPMAN Warns Members Against Sale of Fuel Above N165/litre

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has warned members of the association not to dispense Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, above the approved N165/litre pump price.


IPMAN in conjunction with the Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products gave the warning in Abuja following reports that many retail outlets had adjusted the price in their various pumps upwards above the government-regulated rate.


The factional National President, IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, admitted that members of the association had called for a hike in petrol price, but noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had released enough petrol.


He said, “Our members in Lagos were getting the fuel at N170 – N173/litre, that’s why they wanted price increased. It is only the NNPC that is importing the product.

The cost of doing business has changed, so it becomes difficult to sell at N165/litre.


“That is why we are thanking the NNPC for bringing the product to N143/litre. So, our members must sell the product at N165 which is the government-approved price.”
Okoronkwo further revealed that IPMAN and its partner had engaged the services of Benham Group to recover money owed them for the supply of petroleum products.

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“Our business requires technology, that is why we brought a seasoned financial expert and we’ve been able to recover a lot of funds in other countries and Nigeria,” he said.
The IPMAN official added, “The incessant mishaps and destruction of trucks on the road, banditry and kidnapping is the reason we are bringing the insurance company to help us. Leaving the risk for the owner of the truck to bear will affect our businesses.”


On his part, the National President, Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products in Nigeria, Mohammed Danzaki, said the NNPC had done a lot to import the product, “but the main issue is the transportation.”


He added, “We have not been getting our payments. That is why we engaged a financial expert, Benham Group, to recoup our money for Nigerians to get regular supplies in the fuel stations.”
The Chairman, Benham Group, Maurice Ibe, said the collaboration was to ensure stabilisation of fuel supply at the filling stations.

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