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NPA pensioners protest 11 years of none increment in pension in Lagos







Pensioners of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Wednesday protested at the NPA Headquarters in Marina, Lagos,   against  the irregular increment in their pensions since 2008.


The pensioners under  the aegis of NPA Pensioners’ Welfare Association told the Nigeria News Agency that the protest became necessary after several attempts to meet the management over the matter failed.


The President of the association, Mr Charles Binitie, told NAN that the pensioners would not call off the protest should the management decline to meet with  them over the matter.


NAN  reports that the over 100 pensioners carried various placards that read, “Your Pensioners Want to Dialogue with You”; “Let’s Discuss Our Pension”, “Allah Ya Yisa NPA,” among others.



According to Binitie, we have  been on the matter since 2008 but the management will not meet or discuss with us on the issue.


Binitie said that all the association members belonged to the old pension act, which compelled the management  of NPA to care for them till death.


“It is our constitutional right because the constitution stated that whenever there was an increase in the staff salary, it should also reflect in pensions being paid  to the retired staff, but this has not been so.


“The salaries of NPA staff have been increased many times between 2005 and 2017 but such increments have not reflected in our pensions.


“The NPA management has been denying us our rights since 2008 and all we are asking for is to dialogue with them but they are refusing to dialogue with us,” he said.


Binitie said that  the association had written several letters to the management.


He added  that the association also wrote to the Minister of Transportation who told the management to look into the issue but to no avail.


According to him, the association dragged the management before National  Salaries, Incomes and  Wages Commission, which appealed to NPA to settle the contentious matters, which also failed.


He said the workers were shocked on Wednesday when no senior or low management staff attended to them during the protest.


He said that they had vowed that the protest would continue until the management called them for discussion.


“If the management had gone for an official assignment out of the premises as we were told, a staff  member was supposed to have attended to us.


“All we want from the management is to protect  us and dialogue with us over our rights and benefits because prices have tripled since we retired. Most of us received as little as N15,000 as pension monthly,” Binitie said.


Efforts by NAN to meet the management for comment was unsuccessful as the members of the  senior management staff were said to be at a meeting outside the headquarters. (NAN)



Edited by Joe Idika/Peter Dada



Trade tensions to hit goods growth in fourth quarter as tariffs bite – WTO



The World Trade Organisation (WTO) said on Monday that growth in global goods trade is expected to remain “below trend” in the fourth quarter amid tensions and rising tariffs in key sectors.

Its latest quarterly barometer showed growth in global merchandise trade rose by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter of this year, against 3.5 per cent in same period of 2018.

“Some components of the barometer have stabilised since the last reading in August while others remain on a downward trajectory, reflecting heightened trade tensions and rising tariffs in key sectors,’’ it said.

Air freight, raw materials and electronic components indices “all deteriorated further below trend”, with electronic components weakest amid tariff hikes while automotive products and container shipping have firmed up, it said.

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Abdulfatah Babatunde

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GenCos threaten to shut down power generation supply



The Power Generation Companies (GenCos), have threatened to shut down power generation supply if pressing issues in the sector are not addressed.

The GenCos spoke through the Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr Joy Ogaji at a news conference in Abuja on Sunday.

Ogaji explained that the main reason for considering to take such action was due to the inability of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) to honour agreement it had with GenCos.

She said GenCos were facing liquidity challenge due to NBET’s breach of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) terms of 100 per cent payment for power generated and supplied.

Nigeria News Agency reports that NBET (Bulk Trader) is a trading licensee.

It is licensed and regulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to undertake bulk purchase and resale of electricity in the Transitional Electricity Market.

She accused NBET’s management of constituting itself as “the Alpha and Omega” authority that has the capacity to make or mar generation businesses in the country.

According to her, the situation is so bad that to remain in business and provide power to Nigerians, GenCos have to plead, lobby, and beg to be paid for power generated and utilised.

“NBET has now reduced its role to blackmailing and threatening GenCos investors and chairmen who have refused to concede to NBET’s illegal demand of a 0.75 per cent charge on invoices paid to gas suppliers.

“NBET has clearly threatened not to release payments due GenCos until they accede to NBET’s request, urging them to agree for a quid pro quo with the 0.75 per cent administrative charge.

“The situation is truly grave and completely unprecedented as NBET has completely shed its role as a licencee of the industry and has taken on some sort of regulatory role.

“This singular action by NBET may lead to shutdown of power supply by GenCos, who have unanimously agreed to call the bluff of NBET.

“GenCos have, in addition to the mounting debts being owed, working under the harsh, unprofessional and unethical dealings from the NBET management staff.

“GenCos Chief Executives and other key staff all have a bucket full of tales of abuses, insults, aggression, nonchalance, non-responsiveness, bullish, belittling, and ostracising actions

“All these are geared towards intimidating the GenCos and keeping them at bay from seeking legitimate clarifications,” she said.

The executive secretary said the matter had been reported to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and other high authorities but yet nothing had been done.

She called on Federal Government through the board Chairman of NBET to review the professional conduct of the management of NBET and ensure that business etiquettes were instilled.

“In a nascent market as ours, there are processes entrenched in the  Market Rules and other applicable Codes that should be followed in dealing with sectorial issues at all times.

“This is in order not to leave room for arbitrariness, duress or undue influence.

“The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) clearly delineates the terms of the business relationship and expectations of the parties.

“NBET was designed to help smoothen these relationships, removing frictions which may exist between Gencos and DisCos.

“NBET was envisaged to occupy the space between GenCos and DISCOs, acting as a “shock absorber” in times of market turbulence and not to make it worse. “

Ogaji said there was N600 billion the Federal Government needed to pay GenCos through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

She said that if that money was not released on time, it was likely to contribute to the shut down of power generation in the country soon.

Effort by Nigeria News Agency to speak with Dr Marilyn Amobi, the managing director/chief executive officer of NBET failed.

A phone call put across to her cell phone was not answered, neither did she respond to the Short Message Service (SMS).

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

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Africa Industrialisation Week: EU urges expansion in intra-Africa trade



The European Union has called for expansion in the volume of intra-Africa trade, if the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are to be realised.

Head of Cooperation, European Union, Mr Thomas Huyghebaert, made the call during a media training on Global Trade, on Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The training is holding in conjunction with World Export Development Forum (WEDF) and on the fringes of the 2019 African Industrialisation Week holding from Nov. 18 – 22.

Highlights of the two- day training programme include the AfCFTA agreement; trade between Africa and Europe; trade data for reporting; and trade-led development.

Huyghebaert said despite the heartwarming development seeing 27 African countries ratifying the AfCFTA agreement, more needed to be done on intra-Africa trade.

He explained that the new alliance between the EU and AU was aimed at increased investment in Africa.

According to him, increased investment in the continent is needed, beyond what is currently obtainable.

Huyghebaert also stressed the need for increased role of the private sector.

“We also must reinforce our joint efforts, especially in investing in Africa’s young people. The continent has the largest population of youths.

“Coincidentally, as we began this training you would notice young Ethiopians here set to benefit from the fair on education in Europe.

“We also have this programme where we already have 20,000 African students going every year to Europe.

“We are intending to increase the number further, as this is about skill sharing and building the economy,” he said.

He said the latest AU-EU partnership was informed by the need to understudy how continental single trade works.

“The African Union is coming closer to us, because of the experience we have had over the last 70 years in building the EU single market.

“And so, we are here, really as peers and sharing experiences.

“What has been achieved so far was only the easy bit, the task is now in negotiating the terms of trading, and then what happens afterwards.

“There are lots of other things, including how do we overcome the barriers from the customs, amongst other things.

“We are here as a long term partner in this transformation, and eventually as a future step, to have the continent to continent free trade between Africa and Europe.

“The first step, however, is to integrate more intra-Africa trade and enhance trade between.

“It is then that African countries would be in a better position to transform their production capacities to meet global standard and export to the European market,” Huyghebaert said.

He said journalists would play crucial roles in spreading the advantages of AfCFTA before the actual implementation of the agreement.

The training programme was jointly organised by the International Trade Centre, the AU, EU and the Enhanced Integrated Framework.

Other speakers at the programme were Vittorio Cammarota,

Chief of Commmunications

and events at the International Trade Centre (ITC) and Deanna Ramsey of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).

Also in attendance was Rongai Chizema, Chief Technical Advisor at the Department of Trade and Industry, African Union.

Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

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Embrace skills acquisition to secure your Future: Taraba NYSC Coordinator tells Corps Members



Mrs Florence Yaakugh, the Taraba Coordinator, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), on Saturday urged corps members to embrace skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development in order to secure their future.

Yaakugh said this  during the official launch of skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development  (SAED) training for 2019 Batch ‘C’ Stream 1 corps members at the ongoing orientation course at the NYSC camp in Sibre, near Jalingo.

The coordinator described skills  acquisition and entrepreneurship  as the surest paths to a life of self dependency and financial security for corps members.

Yaakugh, who noted that white collar jobs were becoming increasingly scarce, said that SAED training was the NYSC’s panacea to the challenge of unemployment.

She urged corps members to take advantage of the rare opportunity to acquire skills other than their areas of specialisation.

“I want to urge all of you to take ample advantage of the skills acquisition programme to guarantee a life of self-sufficiency and insulate yourselves from the frustration that comes with fruitless search for unavailable white collar jobs,” she said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that some of the training areas for corps members in Taraba include ICT, Food Processing and Preservation, Film and Photography, Fashion and Design, among others.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Cooperative societies want review of cooperative Act to meet international best practices



The Cooperative Rating and Award Society of Nigeria (CRASON) has appealed to the National Assembly to review the Nigerian Cooperative Act of 2004 to meet international best practices.

The President of CRASON, Mr Victor Oyegoke, made the appeal at the 2nd National Cooperative Awards and Symposium organised by the society in Abuja on Saturday.

Oyegoke noted that the law was outdated and was no longer in tandem with current realities in the sector.

He also appealed to the Federal Government to support cooperatives, adding that they were contributing enormously to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

According to him, cooperative is contributing over one trillion Naira to the GDP; they also create more than 600,000 employments both directly and indirectly in the country.

“This is a very vital sector that the government needs to see how they can key into; we have over 30 million individual members and over 300,000 cooperatives.

“Our law is outdated, we need to review it to accommodate the realities on ground and the government can help us.

“There is a law reviewed already that has been sent to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“FEC should help us send to the NAtional Assembly for scrutiny and passage.

“There is need for a platform to call stakeholders to review the Act to meet up with the current realities of global best practices,’’ he said.

Mr Akintola Akintoye, the Chairman CRASON Advisory Board, said the objective of the society was to rate the operations of cooperative societies and proffer awards.

Akintoye noted that the move was targeted towards encouraging deserving cooperatives.

“Cooperative in Nigeria is a bit down because the sector is not 24th century compliant.

“To be 24th century compliant, the knowledge base of practitioners need to be upgraded.

“We need massive injection of funds for capacity training,’’ he said.

Mrs Shimite Bello, the Chief Executive Officer of the Quintessential Women Association, said that adequate information and technology was crucial to boost the operations of cooperatives in the country.

Bello, in a lecture entitled, `Strengthening Cooperatives to serve as Catalyst for Nigeria’s Sustainable Socio-Economic Development’, called for more training for cooperative members to ensure proper management of loans.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that no fewer than 40 different cooperatives and individuals would bag the 2019 CRASON’s award for their outstanding operations.

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu

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Nigerian, Colombian win the WorldRemit and Arsenal “Future Stars” coaching programme



Online money transfer company WorldRemit ( and Arsenal today announce that Chinasa Ukandu from Nigeria and Luis Alejandro Castañeda from Colombia are the winners of the 2019 Future Stars coaching program.

The two youth coaches will now prepare to travel to London for a personalized training session with Arsenal Football Development coaches, and their trip will be sponsored by WorldRemit.

Chinasa and Luis were among eight finalists, four women and four men, who were selected by a panel of judges from WorldRemit and Arsenal for their commitment to using football to empower young people and benefit their communities.

They emerged as the winners following a public vote on Almost 40,000 votes were cast in less than three weeks – Chinasa received the highest number among the female coaches and Luis received the highest number among the male finalists.

About Future Stars

The Future Stars program was developed by WorldRemit and Arsenal to celebrate the positive impact that grassroots youth football coaches have on their communities, helping the children they train to develop life skills both on and off the pitch.

Now in its second edition, the Future Stars program received over 1,400 applications this year from across Africa and the Americas.

The Future Stars winners

Chinasa Ukandu – Chinasa coaches boys and girls aged 5 to 16. Together with her friends, she helps provide young people with an opportunity to develop football and life skills at Help The Talent Academy in Lagos State. She completed phase three of the Premier Skills Coach Educators Course (an initiative by the English Premier League and British Council) in 2015.

Chinasa commented: “I’m so excited to win the training session in London and can’t wait to meet the Arsenal Football Development coaches. I love a challenge and will use this global coaching opportunity to take new skills back to Nigeria and give back to my community.”

Luis Alejandro Castañeda – Luis is a volunteer coach for a blind boys’ football team from Bogotá and the surrounding area. The team was set up by his father, who is blind, 20 years ago to help young people develop their mobility and independence.

Luis said: “I’m so grateful to WorldRemit and Arsenal for this opportunity. I’ve always dreamed of travelling to London and will use the experience of training with Arsenal Football Development to help develop and raise awareness of Paralympic sport in Colombia and even globally.”

Andrew Stewart, Managing Director Middle East & Africa at WorldRemit said: “At WorldRemit, we are inspired every day by our customers, who work hard to send money home to support their communities.

“Through our partnership with Arsenal and the Future Stars program, we are delighted to celebrate the stories of inspiring individuals such as Chinasa and Luis, who use sport to make a difference to the lives of the young people they train. Congratulations to the winners and our team look forward to welcoming you to London!”

Simon McManus, Head Coach at Arsenal Football Development, said: “Through our programs in London and across the globe, our Football Development coaches are dedicated to helping set young players up for success both on and off the pitch.

“The Future Stars winners’ work within their communities shows just how powerful football can be and the importance of promoting diversity within the sport. We are excited to meet Chinasa and Luis and support them in amplifying their contributions to grassroots football in Nigeria and Colombia even further.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WorldRemit.

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