FG to reconstitute minimum wage committee
The Federal Government is to reconstitute its team on the Joint Public Sector Negotiating Council (JPSNC) on the implementation of the new minimum wage. It was learnt that the team, headed by former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF) Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita may be reconstituted today.
Dropping the hint, Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige said the payment of the new minimum wage for all categories of workers (levels 7 to 17) would be sorted out soon by the Federal Government,
Dr. Ngige gave the assurance during a visit by labour leaders to his office in Abuja.
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba led representatives of some major unions to a parley with the minister.
Ngige said that the Federal Government will involve the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to speed up the implementation of the new minimum wage to other levels of workers employed by the government.
He said: “The issue of the minimum wage will be sorted out for those other cadres and I am very hopeful that it will be done as soon as possible. The unions of the federation – the TUC and NLC — have not been involved. We will involve you when we come back so that we can have a speedy movement in this respect.
“It is unfortunate that the negotiation was deadlocked on that other level from seven to seventeen and the issue became on what percentage or slide they should use on a sliding scale. We are going to discuss and negotiate it.
“There must be consequential movement and government is not averse to doing the consequential movement. What we are saying is that we should try for all parties to agree that the economy is in doldrums and that the economy has some trouble and therefore, we will have to cut our coat according to our cloth. That is the important thing.”
On the planned reconstitution, Ngige said: “The logical thing for us to do, which the government has agreed, is to reconstitute our own representation of the JPSNC. They have handed over to us on where they stopped.
“Luckily, the president has also put in place a new committee called the Presidential Committee on Salaries and Allowances (PCSA).
“The state governments as at today are duty-bound. They now have the template to pay. When we reconstitute our committee, I don’t see us not agreeing. We can disagree but eventually, we will agree because we know ourselves. I am one of those who believe that a workman is due his wages. If you work in a vineyard you must eat from that vineyard and eat all the fruits that are viable there.”
Wabba appealed to the government to fast track the implementation of the minimum wage so that the entire workforce can benefit.
Labor leaders insist on consequential increment
Labor leaders said on Monday they will insist on the ‘consequential increment’ in their negotiation with states on the payment of minimum wage. Any governor not ready to pay should be ready for a showdown, they threatened.
Labour leaders who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondents, ;the union leaders were united that states should pay as expected.
Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Musa-lawal Ozigi, said: “The governors are jokers. You know why? Because they were part of the minimum wage committee, they cannot say they don’t know what happened. The state governments are only playing games. They were represented in the minimum wage committee. They cannot come round to deny their responsibility. They are simply courting labour anger and we are ready for them.
“The statement is only to test Labour’s resolve to ensure that the dividend of minimum wage gets to everybody and we are ready for them.
“All the governors in Nigeria receive the same salaries. Even the states that cannot produce anything, they receive the same salaries with states that can produce something. So, they cannot also deny their workers what they should get.
“We have finished battling with the Federal Government and the consequential increase has been signed. It is time to go to the states to ensure that justice is done to everybody.
“Once the template we signed with the Federal government is passed to the states, we will then know which state said it cannot implement or pay. The template is not for negotiations but for implementation.
President Buhari present year 2020 budget
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday formally presented N10.729 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year before a joint session of the National Assembly.
Buhari said the 2020 budget is based on the proposed new VAT rate. The increased revenues will be used to fund education, health, and infrastructure.
The budget proposal was prepared based on the following assumptions: Benchmark of $57 per barrel, daily oil 1.86 million barrel per day.
Buhari said the goal of presenting the 2020 Appropriation Act early to the lawmakers is so it can come into effect on January 1, 2020. He also stated that the main emphasis of the budget is on the completion many ongoing infrastructure projects, instead of starting new ones.
The Ministry of Works and Housing got N262 billion, transportation ministry got a budget of N123 billion, Agriculture ministry received N83 billion.
UBEC got N112 billion, Defence ministry N100 billion, Water Resources was allotted N82 billion, Education sector got N48 billion, health has N46 billion.
North East Dec Commission got N38 billion, SIPs was given a budget of N30 billion, FCT got N28 billion and the Niger Delta ministry got N24 billion.
Sex for marks: Unilag lecturer exposed
BBC Africa Eye’s on Monday released a documentary targeted at lecturers in some West African universities harassing their students for sex in exchange for grades/marks. After gathering dozens of testimonies, BBC Africa Eye sent undercover journalists posing as students inside the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana.
It was disclosed that female reporters were sexually harassed, propositioned and put under pressure by senior lecturers at the institutions – all the while wearing secret cameras in a 13-minutes video documentary released.
A UNILAG senior lecturer, Faculty of Arts, who doubles as the head pastor of a Foursquare Gospel Church in Lagos, Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu, was exposed as one of the culprits.
The undercover journalist posed as a 17-year-old student who wanted an admission at the University of Lagos.
The “student” endured a couple of sexual harassment from the Dr. Igbeneghu.
Igbeneghu, who invited the teenager to his office for a number of tutorials, subsequently began to have inappropriate conversations with her.
On their first meeting, he commented on her appearance.
In the 13-minutes secret filming, the lecturer revealed how his colleagues tossed and passed around UNILAG female students for sex.
He disclosed further how his colleagues patronised UNILAG Staff club ‘Cold room’ to commit series of atrocities on female students.
“Do you know that you are a very beautiful girl,” he asked her.
“Do you know that I am a pastor and I’m in my fifties. What will shock you is that even at my age now, if I want a girl of your age – a 17-year-old, all I need is to sweet tongue her and put some money in her hand and I’ll get her,” Igbeneghu said to her on camera.
Despite repeated requests, the lecturer failed to react to the BBC’s allegations.
Also, authorities of UNILAG dissociated itself from the lecturer’s actions.
It revealed to the BBC that the institution had a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment.
Furthermore, it refused to comment on the alleged ‘cold room.’
Senate probes loss of $21bn to non-review of PSC Act
The Senate on Wednesday directed its revenant committees to probe the loss of $21bIllion revenue accruable to the Federal Government due to the failure to amend the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act.
This resolution followed a motion entitled: “Urgent need to review and recover additional revenue accruable to the government of the Federation from the Production Sharing Contracts pursuant to Section 16 of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act CAP D3 LFN 2004 and amend the Extant Act.”
The motion was sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South) and co-sponsored by 16 other senators.
In his lead debate, Ubah urged the Senate to note that “as a result of the non-review and amendment of the PSC Act, the Federal Government has lost about US$21 billion (about N7trillion) over a period of 20 years due to the failure to review and amend the PSC Act as stated by the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources following the meeting of the Federal Executive Council on the 14th day of December, 2017.”
Senator Ubah’s prayer which is to: “Mandate the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream to investigate the reasons for the failure to review the salient provisions of the PSC Act, identify the best fiscal regime for the PSCs and review the provisions of the PSC Act to ensure that beyond the crude oil price of US$20, the share of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in the additional revenue is adjusted in accordance with the provisions of the Act,” was unanimously adopted when it was put to voice vote by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.