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Minimum wage: FG blames labour for delay in implementation

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The Federal Government has attributed delay in the implementation of the “Consequential Adjustment” of the N30, 000 new minimum wage to the unrealistic demands of labour unions.

The Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Chief Richard Egbule made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja on Monday.

Egbule explained that the current demand of the labour unions would raise the total wage bill too high and that was why government could not accept their proposed salary adjustments.

“Labour is asking for consequential adjustment and government in its wisdom had made budgetary provision for an adjustment of N10, 000 across board for those already earning above N30, 000 per month.

“However, the Unions have refused this offer, saying that because the increase in minimum wage from 18,000 to N30, 000 was 66 per cent, therefore they want 66 percent increment across board.

“We told them that the minimum wage was not raised from N18, 000 to N30, 000 through percentage increase but as a result of consideration of economic factors including ability to pay.

“However, we said that if they want consequential adjustments in percentage terms, we will use a percentage that when applied will not exceed what has been provided for in the budget.

“The computation based on percentage which government had given to labour, was 9.5 per cent from level 7 to 14 including level 1-6 of those salary structures that did not benefit from the minimum wage.

“And then five percent from level 15 to 17. Labour countered the offer and proposed 30 per cent increase for level 7 to 14 and 25 per cent for level 15 to 17.

“One point  we keep repeating is, it will be unfair that because you gave the person earning minimum wage N12, 000, you give a level 17 officer almost N100, 000 if you apply 25 percent,’’ he said.

Egbule said that at the last meeting between the Federal Government and the labour unions, the government proposed a 10 per cent increment for level seven to 14 and a 5.5 per cent increase for level 15 to 17.

He advised labour to come to a compromise because government had so far been magnanimous in agreeing to increase salaries without any threat of downsizing.

“Labour is currently stretching out and eating up the time that people could have used in benefiting from the adjustment because the new minimum wage was implemented since April.

“My advice is for labour to accept the terms for now and prepare to fight for the harmonization of salaries that is coming up. Harmonization of salaries will take care of this issue.

“The committee has already been formed and awaiting inauguration. I want them (labour) to know this and liberate us from this unnecessary log jam,” he said.

Egbule reiterated the commission’s commitment to giving sound advice to the government on the portion of national income that should be devoted to the payment of salaries and wages.

 

Economy

Oil prices slide as U.S.-China trade war escalates

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Oil prices slide as U.S.-China trade war escalates

Oil (Re-opened)

London, Aug. 23, 2019 Oil prices fell sharply on Friday after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs against about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods, marking the latest escalation of a protracted trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

Brent crude futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, fell 88 cents to $59.04 a barrel by 1327 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 slid by $1.33 to $54.02.

“Policymakers and investors remain cognisant of the economic headwinds that are gathering force, given that the U.S.-China trade conflict threatens to drag on for longer,” said FXTM market analyst Han Tan.

China’s commerce ministry said it would impose additional tariffs of five per cent  or 10 per cent on a total of 5,078 products originating from the U.S., including agricultural products such as soybeans, crude oil and small aircraft.

Market attention was also focused on a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve chief, Jerome Powell, at a meeting of global central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, hoping for news on whether it would cut interest rates for a second time this year to boost the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President, James Bullard, said policymakers would have a “robust debate” about cutting U.S. interest rates by half a percentage point at their next policy meeting in September.

Harry Tchilinguirian of BNP Paribas said the market had some other bearish data, noting a rise in Saudi Arabian oil exports, while Russia’s crude output moved above its quota under an OPEC+ agreement.

He also pointed to Russian oil major, Rosneft, helping to ship Venezuelan oil to China and India.

OPEC, Russia and other producers have, since Jan. 1, implemented a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day.

The alliance, known as OPEC+, renewed the pact in July, extending the curbs to March 2020 to avoid a build-up of inventories that could hit prices.

Iran’s foreign minister said talks held on Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron about a landmark 2015 nuclear deal were “productive”.

Iran has said it would scale back compliance with the pact unless the Europeans find a solution enabling Tehran to sell its oil despite U.S. sanctions. (Reuters/NAN)

JI/TA

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Economy

Ondo govt. pledges support to market women

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Support

By Alaba-Olusola Oke

Akure, Aug.23,2019 The Ondo  State Government Friday reiterated its commitment to creating an enabling environment for market women across the state to boost their trading activities.

Mr Olatunji Ifabiyi, the Special Adviser to Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Commerce, Industry and Cooperative Services, stated this at a meeting with  market women who paid  him a courtesy visit in his office in Akure.

Ifabiyi commended the market women on the “civilised manner” in which  they conducted themselves inspite of the challenges being faced in their various markets.

Ifabiyi, who noted that  the market as a sector was indispensable, described it as complementary to the growth and development of the economy.

The Special Adviser said he had taken into cognisance all their complaints and challenges on  security, maintenance, electricity and good road network.

He promised to look into all the issues with a view to proffering lasting solutions to them.

Olatunji, therefore, enjoined the market women to continue to support the present government in order to reap more dividends of democracy.

In his remarks,Mr Sunday Lebi,  the Permanent Secretary in the  ministry, lauded the visitors for showing maturity in handling their grievances within the market place.

Lebi said that market women had come of age in terms of decision making and conduct in the market place.

He assured them that all their complaints and requests would be addressed as soon as possible.

Speaking earlier, Chief Iwalola Adefemiwa,  the Iyaloja General of Ondo State, commended the Special Adviser for giving them audience in spite of a short notice.

Adefemiwa, who led other sectional market leaders to the meeting, said the meeting was  imperative in order to intimate the state government with some challenges being faced in various markets in the state, particularly in Ondo Kingdom.

The Iyaloja listed some  markets that needed government urgent intervention to include Surulere, Agbogbo-Oke, Lipakala and Moferere, all in Ondo town.

She thanked the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration for its  support borne out of love for the entire market women in the state.

Adefemiwa pledged the women’s unalloyed support to the government at all times.

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Economy

Agency assures clean, portable water in Cross River

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Mr Asuquo Ada, the Managing Director, Cross River Water Board Limited has restated determination of the agency to provide clean and portable pipe borne water to people of the state.

Ada who said this while speaking with newsmen in Calabar on Friday, said the company would soon extend its operations to the production of bottle water to boost its marketing strategy

According to him, the bottle water will be of high quality and affordable to meet the needs of its consumers.

“I want to assure Cross Riverians of our commitment to produce and distribute clean pipe borne water across the state,’’ Ada said.

The managing director said the board was working toward achieving Gov Ben Ayade’s Blueprint for the water sector in the state.

He expressed appreciation to the governor for the support given to the board, adding that it had been instrumental to its success so far.

Ada urged consumers in Calabar and environs to complement government’s effort by paying their bills promptly.

 

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Economy

Help facilitate long-term loans for farmers, Kwara urges CIBN

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Loans

By Toba Ajayi

Ilorin, Aug. 23, 2019 ( NAN) The Kwara Government has called on the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) to evolve ways of giving long term loans to farmers to boost food production.

Mr Kayode Alabi, the Deputy Governor of the state, made the call in Ilorin on Friday when a delegation from CIBN led by its Chairman, Mr Ababe Abdusalam, visited him.

The deputy governor urged banks to exhibit more creativity in policy formulation to encourage investment in farming.

“Long term loans will encourage farmers and other investors to embark on long term projects. The CIBN should take more risks for farming to thrive.

“I advise the institute to come up with affordable loan plan that will enable farmers and other small scale businesses to thrive in the state,” he said.

Alabi pledged the support and cooperation of the state government to the institute, saying, “we can replicate the rice farming system in Kebbi if banks will support us,”’

“As a state, we have the wherewithal to develop the agriculture sector with the help of other stakeholders such as financial institutions.

“We believe that farming is the way out of poverty, we need the support of relevant stakeholders,” he said.

He also urged the institute to evolve ways of tackling fraud and penalising bank officials who aid financial fraud.

In his remarks, Abdulsalam said the visit was to congratulate and identify with the new government in the state.

“We also wish to use the opportunity to pledge our willingness to work with the government toward boosting economic activities in the state.

“As manager of resources and custodian of economic development, the CIBN will continue to advise the government on workable policy initiatives that will bring positive results,” he said.

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Economy

Recruitment: Physically challenged applicants take demand to Customs

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The Association of Physically Challenged Applicants and Workers (APCAW) on Friday visited Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) demanding for slots in the ongoing recruitment by the service.

The President of the association, Mr Godstime Onyegbulam, told the Nigeria News Agency that they were at the customs headquarters to plead, to consider his members in the employment.

Onyegbulam explained that some of the members of the association applied for the job vacancies recently advertised by the service.

NAN reports that the NCS began recruitment process in April, this year, to fill 3,200 vacancies of professionals in the service.

The president said most of his members were graduates hence the need to be considered in the exercise in order to be part of the system to contribute their quota.

The Public Relations Officer of the customs, Mr Joseph Attah, who received the physically challenged applicants, pledged to look into their request.

Attah assured that their request would be taken to the appropriate authority with a view to addressing it.

He advised those that applied to come and submit their printed slips at the customs’ headquarters for screening.

MS/MST

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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