Abuja, Nov. 2, 2019 Mrs. Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investment, says the National Social Investment Office has an exit plan for N-Power beneficiaries.
Uwais told the Nigeria News Agency , on Monday in Abuja that the plans were worked out ”long before
the progamme was moved to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster and Social Development.
“We have had meetings with Central Bank of Nigeria on different loan options for the N-Power beneficiaries after exiting the scheme.
“We have discussed with the Minister of Finance on some funding via the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme.
“We have also met with state governors to employ beneficiaries from their own states. The goal is to give N-Power beneficiaries a smooth exit on graduation,” he said.
She said that she had briefed the humanitarian affairs minister and also stressed the need to meet with the Minister of Finance to actualise the plans.
The presidential aide dismissed reports claiming that the Social Investment Programmes would be restructured.
“The National Social Investment Office is not aware of any plan to restructure or frustrate the programmes.
“Our operations have been very transparent. For every payment to the beneficiaries of all the social investment programmes, the ministry is fully involved in all the processes,” she said.
According to her, the programmes were under the Ministry of Budget and National Planning before they were moved to the new ministry. .
Arik Air resumes services to Asaba
Ilegbodu said that the resumption of flights to Asaba was coming at a time when people were looking for seamless travel during the Yuletide.
The additional flight will operate at 7:00 a.m. daily in addition to the 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. departures,” he said.
Speaking on the latest development, Ilegbodu said: “The resumption of flights to Asaba is a promise kept as we had assured our esteemed customers that we would be back on the route before the Christmas festivities.
“We once again assure our customers of a high operating safety standard and excellent customer service during the Yuletide and beyond.”
Jega seeks review of admissions into tertiary institutions
A committee on the review of admission into the Nation’s tertiary institutions has recommended a new framework to globalise operations at the citadel of learning.
Prof. Attahiru Jega, Former INEC Chairman and chairman of the committee on the internalisation of admissions into tertiary institutions, disclosed this on Thursday.
The report was presented to the registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede.
Nigeria News Agency reports that internalisation is the process of integrating international, inter-cultural and global dimensions into the purpose, functions and delivery of tertiary education.
It is one of the instruments needed to ensure that the country benefits from globalisation.
Jega recommended that the Federal Government must put in more efforts to ensure the safety and security of citizens and foreigners in the country.
He added that the government must also make conscious efforts to promote the country’s culture abroad through agencies such as the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC).
He also recommended that tertiary institutions should open offshore campuses for the export of Nigerian education under a robust regulatory framework.
According to him, currently, Nigeria scores low on the internalisation index.
In a survey of August 2019 by this committee on tertiary institutions in Nigeria, of the 194 institutions that responded, there were 1,856 foreign students out of the total 1,132,795 students.
There was 437 foreign academic staff from a total of 5,604 academic staff in these institutions. Foreign students make up 0.18 per cent in universities, 0.29 per cent in polytechnics and 0.04 per cent in Colleges of Education.
The percentage of all foreign students in Nigeria’s tertiary education system as at 2018/2019 session is 0.16 per cent.
With regards to academic staff, the percentage of foreign academics in Nigerian universities is 0.008 per cent, 1.64 per cent in polytechnics and 0.18 per cent in Colleges of Education.
“This is an indication that the teaching staff in tertiary education system is largely dominated by Nigerian academics.’’
Jega further said that the essence of the report was to propose urgent actions to be taken by the country’s tertiary institutions to attract and retain both international students and staff.
He, therefore, called on JAMB to encourage the internalisation of tertiary institutions by promoting admission of foreign students.
He also called on various institutions to take specific actions to promote internalisation of their institutions and programmes.
Responding, Oloyede promised to push for the implementation of the document, saying that the policy on internalisation of admission would be given necessary consideration.
One of the aspects of the mandate of JAMB is the internalisation of admissions. For the past three years we have been battling with other issues that we are almost forgetting the issue of internalisation.
“Active steps will be taken to ensure that the report will immediately go to the ministry of education for necessary actions.’’
Minimum Wage: NLC prepares for showdown with state governors Dec. 31
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony, if state governors refuse to conclude negotiations and payment of the National Minimum Wage by December 31.
In a communique issued at the end of its meeting with state council chairmen on implementation of the National Minimum Wage, the union said there were currently three implementation categories in which all states fell into.
The communique was jointly signed by NLC President; Dr Ayuba Wabba, NLC General Secretary; Emmanuel Ugboaja and Abdulrafiu Adeniji; National Chairperson, Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (Trade Union Side).
The communique noted that Kaduna, Kebbi, Lagos and Adamawa have commenced implementation and payment of the newminimum wage, while Jigawa had concluded negotiations but yet to make its first payment to workers.
It also noted that Borno, Abia, Kano, Bayelsa, Sokoto, Niger, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Katsina and Zamfara States, have constituted a negotiating committee between their state government and Labour, following consequential adjustments of salaries.
“States which have not put in place a Negotiating Committee between the State Government and Labour on the consequential adjustment of salaries, include Bauchi, Yobe, Rivers, Benue, Gombe, Kwara, Imo, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Anambra, Taraba, Cross River, Ogun, Enugu, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kogi and Delta States.”
The communique noted that Organised Labour in the states comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (Trade Union Side) would work in harmony to ensure that all workers enjoy the full benefit of the new National Minimum Wage.
The union urged state chairmen to immediately convoke an emergency State Executive Council meeting and State Congress of all workers to brief them of the outcome of the stakeholders’ meeting on the new national minimum wage implementation.
“States that are still on the discussion table (Category 2) should expedite discussions to conclude the negotiations on or before the 31st of December, 2019.
“States which have not commenced discussion should quickly constitute a Negotiating Committee and expeditiously conclude discussions on salary adjustment consequent on the new national minimum wage on or before 31st December, 2019.
“In the event that any state fails to comply with these resolutions on or before 31st December, 2019, organised labour would not guarantee industrial harmony in such states,” it added.
FG to establish community museums to boost tourism – Lai Mohammed
The Federal Government has announced plans to establish community museums as part of efforts to ensure that local communities benefit from tourism.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the plan on Thursday at the ongoing 4th World World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Kyoto, Japan.
A statement on the event was made available to newsmen in Abuja by Mr. Segun Adeyemi,
Special Assistant to the President (Media) Office of the Minister of Information and Culture
”In Nigeria, we observed that tourists stay in the big cities when they visit.
‘They visit the museums in the cities where objects gotten from different parts, including the rural areas, are displayed but they hardly go to the rural areas.
”To encourage tourists to visit the rural areas where money spent is quickly reflected in the local economy, we are trying to establish community museums,” the minister said.
According to Mohammed, the government will, in particular, encourage the establishment of palace museums.
”Parts of ancient residencies of traditional rulers and important chiefs are being turned to museums.
‘Thus, we are not limiting museums to the big cities. Money spent by tourists while visiting these rustic places stay longer in these areas.
Lamido Adamawa now has the Fombina Palace museum, just like the Emir of Potiskum has palace museum,” he said.
The Minister said the government, through high-level representation, training of festival managers and the provision of enabling environment, is supporting and promoting festivals and cultural tourism all over the country.
He said the programme would ultimately ensure that local communities benefitted.
The minister said that a national calendar of festivals would soon be unveiled to assist tourists who are coming to Nigeria in planning their visits.
He said that Nigeria has continued to leverage on the areas in which it enjoys comparative advantage, citing music, movies and fashion as some of such areas.
Mohammed served as one of the panellists at the Ministerial Segment of the conference, dedicated to discussing and exchanging policies and government models impacting the future of cultural tourism.
Pensioners beg FG over speedy payment of N20b arrears
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to speed up processes for payment of N20 billion arrears owed contributory pensioners in the country.
The Association’s President, Mr Abel Afolayan, who made this call at the 18th Edition of Pensioners Day in Abuja, alleged that contributory pensioners had not enjoyed the pension increment of 15 and 33 per cent approved in 2007 and 2010 respectively.
According to him, these two arrears owed contributory pensioners are usually budgeted for annually, but removed completely without taking consideration of the welfare of Pensioners in the country.
The contributory pensioners have not enjoyed the pension increment of 15 and 33 per cent approved in 2007 and 2010 respectively.
The total outstanding arrears arising from non-payment of accrued rights stands at N20 billion, while the outstanding shortfall of the 5 per cent of accrued rights stands at N62.82 billion.
We want to appeal to Mr President to come to the aid of PENCOM and the contributory pensioners in releasing substantial amount of money to PENCOM to pay the outstanding arrears which they have been waiting for, since November 2018 to date”.
Afolayan also called for the creation of a ministry of Pension and Senior Citizens Affairs to specifically cater for the welfare of Pensioners, old people and senior citizens, saying that such was the practice globally.
The president called for the retention and strengthening of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), to help consolidate the proposed ministry.
He said thát there was the need to appoint pensioners into government positions, following premature retirements and other issues, adding that their wealth of experience could still be tapped.
We wish to request that this category of Pensioners and many elderly members of the union, who are still capable, should be considered for appointment at the appropriate government establishments.
Their wealth of experience could still be tapped, if such members are appointed as chairmen and members of commissions, boards and parastatal agencies.
While commending efforts of some state governors at ensuring speedy payment of pensions to beneficiaries, Afolayan hailed Imo and Borno Governors for speedy payments of pension arrears to state pensioners.
He said that Gov Umaru Zulum of Borno, on assumption of office, ordered immediate reinstatement of many pensioners removed from the payroll as a result of unending verification exercises.
He has also released the sum of over N2.6 billion to pay gratuities of Pensioners who retired from level one to seven, since 2013,” he said.
He stressed the need for PTAD to back pensioners’ verification with timely payment of monies to allow beneficiaries meet their needs at the appropriate time.
Afolayan also called for provision of free medical treatment for aged persons above 70 years, saying that they should also be considered for annual national merit awards.
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