Some parents in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) have expressed mixed reactions as the Federal Government referred the dispute with the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria(NICN).
Some parents who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday said that it was unnecessary for the Federal Government to raise a referral instrument to the NICN to settle the trade dispute, while others also blamed ASUU for the prolonged strike.
NAN reports that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, had in a letter addressed to the Registrar of NICN, called for a referral instrument following the failure of dialogue between the union and the Federal Ministry of Education.
The court is to inquire into the legality or otherwise of the ongoing prolonged strike by ASUU leadership and members that had continued even after apprehension.
Mr Mark Yohanna said, ”taking ASUU to court was a waste of time at this point the industrial court had been there, why didn’t they think of it since the beginning of the strike which had lingered for seven months.
“The issues that needed to be addressed are well spelt out by the striking lecturers before they can call off their strike, then why take them to court.
“ I do not think the industrial court will address those issues, except the Federal Government will comply with the agreement entered with ASUU.
“I want to say that the government is playing with time and the future of the Nigerian children which are their responsibility to charter for their interest and welfare, ‘’he said.
Mr Emmanuel Ejike, another parent, said that it was unfortunate that the children of the poor had lost an academic session due to the ongoing strike.
He said that the victims of such strikes were the students and their parents, while the students’ programmes would be extended, parents have been put under pressure and confusion.
“So, for me, this going to industrial court is neither here nor there, because I do not know what the aim is or what it intends to achieve, “If their intention is to order ASUU to stop the strike, then the Federal Government would have done it earlier, is it even possible that whatever the court is going to say, the union will abide by it.
“By going to court, I think the government wants to use it to buy time, because people are not sure if the government is ready to address the issues and ASUU wants the government to be honest about them, ‘’he said.
He urged that the Federal Government should find an honest way to stop the strike rather than going to court.
Mrs Kemi Olusola, a parent, said that referring the trade dispute with ASUU to court by the Federal Government would compound the problem.
According to her, ASUU itself has said that if the Federal Government wants to resolve the issues within a day, that they have the capacity to do so.
“If government feels that the education of the Nigerian children of poor parents is paramount and important to them.
”If they believe that human capital development is critical to the development of the nation, they should do whatever it takes to resolve the issues soonest.
“ASUU is saying that they have not fulfilled the promises that they made so they cannot call off the strike until they see genuine commitment “I think the government should try and see it from ASUU’s point of view, because they want to save the university system in this country, ”’she said.
Olusola said that no Nigerian university ranks among the first one thousand Universities in the whole.
She added, ” this should be a great concern to the Federal Government, because in the past, the public Universities do compete in the international space and also ranked very high.
” Also, Mrs Elizabeth Olajide, another parent, said it was commendable that the Federal Government had taken the striking lectures to court and that probably would make the issues resolved speedily.
According to Olajide, ”our children have lost one year and they should not lose the second one, because the children are tired of staying at home and they are angry and almost frustrated.
“So, I think that going to this court will achieve meaningful purpose, I hope the court will find a proper way of dealing with the matter, so that everyone can have rest of mind, “That is both the students, parents and the teachers themselves, ‘’she said.
Mr John Osita, another parent, said that the strike was long overdue and that the Federal Government’s move was laudable.
“I am very happy with the government for finally taking such a decision, I am such that I think the court will do justice to the issues in contention.
“I am pained about this whole prolong strike and I pray that the court will resolve the dispute between the parties as quickly as possible, ”he said.
NAN) The Federal government on Monday urged the National Industrial Court to order the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its seven months strike.
Joined as a claimant in the matter is the Minster of Education, with the President of ASUU as sole defendant.
The matter which came up before Justice Polycarp Hamman brought by Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige on behalf of the federal government, by way of referral is praying the court to order ASUU to resume academic activities, amongst other prayers.
When the matter slated for mention came up, Mr Ebunolu Adegoruwa, SAN, informed the court that he was representing Socio- Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and that he had filed a suit on the same subject matter before the same court.
He also stated that in the suit 2692022, SERAP is the claimant with the federal government as the defendant.
He therefore proceeded to apply that the extant suit be consolidated and SERAP be joined in the suit as a defendant, instead of multiply suits on the same matter before the same court.
Counsel to the claimant, Mr T.
A Gazali, SAN, in response said the application was premature and added that there was no need for SERAP to pray to be joined in a suit orally in a matter that did not have its name on the causelist.
Mr Femi Falana, SAN, counsel to ASUU in his response informed the court that both counsel had informed him on Monday that they both were filing some papers.
Falana in addition urged the court to step down the matter to enable both counsel to file their papers and then return at a later date after he would have responded to the claimant’s process Adegoruwa replied that the defendant had not denied the existence of the suit SERAP filed and served on them.
Gazali on his part also informed the court that his process will be filed Monday and Falana said he would need three days to reply to the process.
The judge in his ruling adjourned the matter until Friday, for further mention.
He also directed that the claimant should file, serve his process, the defendant to also file and serve his response before the adjourned date.
Hamman in addition ruled that SERAP’s application for be joined in the suit was premature.
The News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) reports that the suit filed by the claimant is also seeking the court to give the matter an accelerated hearing in order to bring the dispute to an end.
The claimant also in the instrument of referral is praying the court to: “Inquire into the legality or otherwise of the on-going prolonged strike by ASUU leadership and members which had continued even after apprehension by the Minister of Labour and Employment.
“Interpret in its entirety the provisions of Section 18, LFN 2004 especially as it applies to cessation of strike once a trade dispute is apprehended by the Minister of Labour end Employment and conciliation is on-going”.
Various talks between the parties on different occasions concerning the ongoing strike had not yielded any result, hence the referral of the matter to the court.
The Federal Government says it will meet with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) for adjudication on Monday over prolong strike.
Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, said this on Sunday in Abuja in a letter addressed to the Registrar of NICN, dated Sept. 8. Ngige said this in a statement signed by Olajide Oshundun, Head, Press and Public Relations, in the ministry and made available to newsmen.
He said the referral instrument had become necessary following the failure of dialogue between the union and the Federal Ministry of Education.
He added that the matter is billed for mention by 9 a.
m on Sept. 12. ”The Federal Government has asked the NICN to inquire into the legality or otherwise of the ongoing prolonged strike by ASUU leadership and members that had continued even after apprehension.
“It asked the court to interpret in its entirety the provisions of Section 18 LFN 2004, especially as it applies to the cessation of strike once a trade dispute is apprehended by the Minister of Labour and Employment and conciliation is ongoing,” he said.
He also said that the NICN are to interpret the provisions of Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, Cap T8. LFN 2004, titled “Special Provision with Respect to payment of wages during strikes and lock-outs”.
Ngige said this ”specifically dealing with the rights of during the period of any strike or lock-out.
”Can ASUU or any other union that embarked on strike be asking to be paid salaries even with clear provisions of the law.
“Determine whether ASUU members are entitled to emoluments or ‘strike pay’ during their period of strike, which commenced on Feb. 14. ”Moreso, in view of our national law as provided in Section 43 of the TDA and the International Labour Principles on the right to strike as well as the decisions of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association on the subject,” he said.
He added that NICN should determine whether ASUU had the right to embark on strike over disputes as is the case in this instance by compelling the Federal Government to employ its own University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) in the payment of the wages of its members as against the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
According to him, as this is universally used by the Federal Government in the nation for payment of wages of all her employees in the Federal Government Public Service of which university workers, including ASUU members, are part of.
”Or even where the government via NITDA subjected ASUU and their counterpart, Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll Systems (UPPPS) software to integrity test (vulnerability and stress test) and they failed,” he said.
Ngigi also said the federal government further asked the court to determine the extent of fulfillment of ASUU’s demands since the 2020 Memorandum of Action (MOA) that the union signed with government.
The minister said their demands include the funding for revitalisation of public universities as per 2009 agreement, Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) payments, state universities proliferation and constitution of visitation panels, and release of white paper on the report of the visitation panels.
He noted that others are the reconstitution of the government renegotiation team for renegotiation of 2009 agreement, which was renegotiated 20132014, due for renegotiation 20182019, and the migration of ASUU members from IPPIS to its own UTAS, which is currently on test at NITDA.
”Consequently, the Federal Government requested for an order of the Court for ASUU members to resume work in their various universities while the issues in dispute are being addressed by the NICN in consonance with the provisions of Section 18 (I) (b) of the TDA Cap T8. LFN 2004,” he said.
The State of Qatar has expressed its willingness to have more Nigerian component in its labour force.Mr Ahmad AL-Horr, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria, said this when he visited the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige on Friday in Abuja.According to AL-Horr, the Government of Qatar needs the collaboration with the Nigerian Government on migration of workers owing to the limited number of Nigerians working in the country He said that his country cared about workers protection for engineers, doctors and indeed all other professions.“We are processing the bilateral agreement between the Government of Nigeria and the Government of Qatar on the Regulation of Employment of Nigerian migrant workers in the State of Qatar.“We need the relationship with the Labour Ministry because the number of Nigerian workers in Qatar is limited.We want more Nigerian workers in our country,’’he said.AL-Horr added that Qatar was ready to host the FIFA World Cup, the biggest football tournament in the world, starting from Nov. 20 and ending on Dec. 18, which is the country’s national day.He also said that Qatar was looking forward to welcoming the minister at the World Cup. Responding , Ngige said that his ministry was looking forward towards formalising the bilateral agreement between Nigeria and Qatar on labour migration.Ngige blamed the alarming rate of unemployment in Africa on high number of young people between the ages of 17 and 35, who constitute 60 per cent of the population.According to him, in Nigeria, the youth constitute about 60 percent of the population,with unemployment ratio of about 34 per cent.“If you include underemployment, you will be talking about close to 40 percent, which is also very alarming.“That is why we are looking forward as a country towards formalising labour migration agreement with you.“Your country has been identified as one of the destinations for people who are looking for work.” You have even reiterated here that the Nigerian component of foreign workers in your place is limited, ’’he said.The minister added Nigerian overnment is very interested in the agreement to provide opportunities for Nigerians in the Gulf country.He gave the assurance that the ministry would work assiduously to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari would sign the agreements during his planned state visit to Qatar.“We need Nigerians to work in your place.We also appeal to you to find a way of formalising the stay of Nigerians who are living and working in your place illegally,’’he said.Ngige also expressed hope that Nigerians would work well in Qatar as both countries are oil and gas producing countries.He added that a lot of Nigerians, trained in oil and gas, would be assets to Qatar if allowed to work in the country.Also present at the meeting were Mrs Matilda Mmegwa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and some directors in the ministry.NewsSourceCredit: NAN
The National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) has suspended its six months old industrial action over non-implementation of 2009 Agreement.
The National President of NAAT, Ibeji Nwokoma, who disclosed this at a news conference at its National Secretariat in Gwagwalada on Thursday, said the suspension would last for only three months.
Nwokoma said before the association embarked on strike, several letters were written to both the Ministers of Education and Labour and Employment stating their demands and the need to address them.
According to him, results of a referendum from branches showed that 80 per cent voted in favour of suspension of the strike while 19 per cent voted for continuation of the strike action.
“You will recall that the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) embarked on strike from 21st March, 2022 till date (158 days today), for the following reasons.
“The refusal to release enabling circular for the implementation of CONTISS 14 and 15 for Academic Technologists and Non-payment of the arrears of Earned Allowances to our members.
“Non conclusion of the 2009 Agreement renegotiation and Non provision of funds for upgrade of Public Universities’ Workshops, Studios and farms.
“Inconsistencies of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) operations, the proliferation and poor funding of state universities.
“These efforts led to the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) including that of 2017, 2020 and 2021.“The strike became inevitable as a result of government insensitivity to addressing our genuine demands concerning the 2009 agreement and MoU it signed with our union,” he said.
The NAAT President said that during the period of the industrial action, the union held several meetings with government representatives, which included the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
He said that the union, following a robust engagement with the government was able to secure commitments and resolutions on some of its demands, even as it rejected the ‘No work, No pay’ policy of the Federal Government.
He listed commitments secured from the Federal Government to include the release of enabling circular on CONTISS 14 and 15, agreements on payment of arrears of minimum adjustments, payment of occupational hazard allowance, implementation of responsibility allowance, among others.
“As a product of these efforts, the union was able to extract the following resolutions and commitment from government as follows.
“Payment of Arrears of Earned Allowance; government made a commitment of N50bn for payment of earned allowances to all members of the four university based unions by January, 2023.“Release of Circular for CONTISS 14 and 15 for Academic Technologists; minister of education agreed to do the necessary follow-up at the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation to facilitate the release of the circular within the shortest time.
“By this development, all NAAT members in tertiary institutions are directed to resume work with effect from the date stated above,” he said.
He, therefore, urged students, especially final year project with ongoing research activities and other unfinished practical works to come for the completion of their project.
He rejected the government’s position to invoke the ‘ No work, No pay rule’, saying that the association was not the architect of the prolonged strike action but rather government failure to address all the contending issues promptly.
“It should be noted that NAAT complied with all laid down procedures before embarking on the industrial action, therefore, NAAT demands in strong terms the payment of our withheld salaries without delay,” he said.
Accelerating Nigeria’s economic diversification through CBN’s “100-for-100” initiative Accelerating Nigeria’s economic diversification through CBN’s “100-for-100” initiativeCBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele By Kadiri Abdulrahman In recent decades, Nigeria’s economy can best be described as mono-cultural as it is largely run from foreign exchange from the oil sector.
However, this source of income has become unpredictable due to a number of reason that disrupt the market.
Some of these factors include conflicts in oil producing countries, deliberate efforts by countries to preserve their oil reserves, foreign exchange, smuggling.
Due to climate change concerns, many countries have put in place, mechanisms to cut the use of fossil fuel and transit to cleaner energies.
As an oil producing country, these concerns have triggered efforts by the Federal Government to diversify the economy by boosting the productive and manufacturing sectors.
Unfortunately, in the past, Nigeria had a vibrant manufacturing sector, boasting of several textile companies in Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, among other cities, employing hundreds of thousands of Nigerians.
Nigeria also had a range of automobile assembly plants that reduced dependence on imported vehicles, in addition to the local production of shoes, in Aba, Lagos, Onitsha, Kano, among others.
For instance, global automobile brands such as Volkswagen, Mercedes and Peugeot also had strong presence in the country’s economy, maintaining functional assembly plants and employing thousands of Nigerians.
The agricultural sector was also vibrant, with Nigeria playing a major role in global cultivation and export of crops like groundnuts, cocoa, palm nuts among others.
The over dependence on foreign exchange earnings from crude oil which started from the early 1980s led to a gradual neglect of other aspects of the economy as `petrodollars’ reigned supreme.
This gradually led to Nigerians depending on importation for essential goods and services, including those in which the country easily had comparative advantage.
The consequence of this action is avoidable economic challenges, growing unemployment, heightening inflation and a weakened naira.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has, in recent times, initiated interventionist policies and programmes geared towards reversing the trend by reviving the productive sector and diversifying the economy.
As part of the push, in January, the apex bank floated the “100 for 100” Policy on Production and Productivity (PPP).
Under this policy, every 100 days, manufacturers in critical sectors that seek to engage in greenfield projects, or in expanding their existing facilities will have access to cheaper forms of credit at single digit rates as well as foreign exchange to procure plants and machinery.
The ultimate goal is to reverse the nation’s reliance on imports by creating an economic system that targets and supports the right companies and projects.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said that the policy was designed to support Federal Government‘s drive towards boosting productivity and economic diversification.
Emefiele said that a maximum loan of five billion naira per obligor would be approved under the initiative, adding that any amount above five billion naira would require special approval of its management.
“The initiative will create the flow of finance and investments to enterprises with potential to kick-start sustainable economic growth trajectory, accelerate structural transformation, promote diversification, and improve productivity.
“It is a support to private sector companies with the aim of reducing certain imports, increasing non-oil exports and to improve the FX-generating capacity of the economy,” he said.
Emefiele said that 100 eligible companies in priority sectors would be selected to receive funding from the apex bank every 100 days, adding that the initiative would stimulate productivity in agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, services, trade-related infrastructure and renewable energy.
“The specific objectives include: catalyse import substitution of targeted commodities; increase local production and productivity; increase non-oil exports; and improve foreign exchange earning capacity of the economy,” he said.
He explained that a comprehensive, regular monitoring of specific benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) under the initiative would be undertaken regularly.
“The KPIs shall include increase in production output of financed companies; percentage increase in capacity utilisation and percentage increase in export volume and value,” he said.
According to him, the projects will produce close to 125.8 billion dollars in foreign exchange and more than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs across all sectors of the economy.
Already, CBN has given out N23.2 billion in loans to 28 beneficiaries, under “100 for 100” initiative.
The beneficiaries cut across sectors, including manufacturing, agribusiness and agro-processing and extractive industries, petro-chemicals and renewables, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, logistics services.
The apex bank said that 28 companies were found eligible and selected for funding in the first instance, with projects valued at N23.2 billion.
In supporting the initiative, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, said recently it is a proof of the CBN’s commitment to spearheading initiatives that would spur productivity and economic growth in Nigeria.
“Productivity forms the basis for everything we are doing.
To come up with such an initiative that benefits all key sectors means that the CBN has keyed into the fact that we need to produce,” he said.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, advanced that the policy has coming at the time that economic diversification and local production of finished goods and services is needed.
“Over the years, the CBN has shown the capacity in modeling and pushing through programmes and initiatives that will facilitate the realisation of its core mandates of ensuring financial system stability and promotion of economic policies and strategies, ” he said.
The initiative has also attracted support from a member of House of Representatives who has commended the apex bank for introducing the policy.
Rep. Chris Azubogu, while moving a motion in February, urged the CBN to sustain the policy, saying that it will improve Nigeria’s capacity to produce goods for its population and the markets in Sub Saharan Africa.
According to him, the policy will support economic development and contribute to increase in economic activities by stimulating the production of goods and services and creating employment for the teeming population.
“The policy will improve the capacity of Nigeria to produce goods for its population and Sub Saharan Africa market especially, as well as protect the country from being a dumping ground for substandard products.
“The initiative, if well implemented, will contribute immensely to Industrialisation, increase capacity to create employment for the teeming youth.
“It will also improve revenues through exports and reduced importation of goods, thereby improving the economy of the country,” he said.
A financial expert, Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, commended the apex bank for thinking outside the box in its efforts to fix the nation’s economy and urged beneficiaries to ensure that the funds were judiciously utilized.
“The CBN has made commendable efforts to encourage the manufacturing sector and economic diversification in recent times, and this policy is another one.
“The realisation by fiscal and monetary authorities, that it is imperative to move the country away from dependence on crude oil to the productive and manufactureting sector is encouraging.
“I urge beneficiaries of this policy to ensure that the funds are used for the purpose for which they were allocated, while the CBN should ensure strict oversight and monitoring to ensure compliance,’’ he was recently quoted as saying.
Given the poor performance of similar interventions in the past, some experts called for caution in celebrating the latest move.
Mr Ibrahim Aliu, a chartered accountant, advised the apex bank to take stock of its previous economic policy decisions to determine with a view to improving on the execution of the present one.
According to Aliu, in a recent interview with the NAN, said it is not just enough to introduce these policies, saying that their implementation of such policies must instill confidence and credibility in the system.
“The apex bank needs to take stock, do an appraisal, to determine the level of success of existing policies,’’ he said.
An economist, Mr Joseph Adebayo, in another interview called for effective monitoring of beneficiaries of the policy to ensure that the funds were not diverted.
“Many Nigerians believe that government money is free money.
I hope the CBN has adequate modalities to monitor the 28 enterprises that have so far benefited from this policy and their usage of the N23.2 billion loan,’’ he said.
Though CBN is confident about the success of the policy amidst concerns about the implement it is obvious that the nation’s economy can no longer afford to lean on crude oil exports.
The new policy therefore deserves the support of all stakeholders.
(NANFeatures) *****If used please credit the author and News Agency of Nigeria
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the Orosanye White Paper Report will be implemented, after review.
The president gave the assurance when he received the Central Working Committee of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.
According to him, the public service remains the engine room of government, and should attract the “best and brightest’’ that will fuel policies with fresh ideas.
He said: “I have directed that the Orosanye White Paper Report be subjected to immediate review to enable Government take the most appropriate decision on its general recommendation.
“I am aware that the review is about to be completed.
“While some may complain about the length of time it has taken thus far, the outcome of the various review teams would lead to some fundamental changes in the structure of our Civil Service and as such it must be subjected to rigorous review and scrutiny before presentation and implementation.
’’ According to the president, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will submit the harmonised white paper once it has been concluded.
He assured that the administration remains focused on strengthening the service and ensuring it helps the government fulfill its objectives.
The president noted that the government understands the role of the Civil Service in policy formulation and implementation towards the provision of socio-economic and political benefits to our citizens.
“This administration remains focused on strengthening the service and ensuring it helps the government fulfill its objectives.
“The Civil Service must not be seen as a dumping ground for job seekers, but must attract the best and the brightest who will contribute fresh ideas and a determination to solving our socio-economic problems,’’ the president added.
Buhari appreciated civil servants for their role in realising targets of the administration.
“The role and importance of the Civil Service cannot be over emphasised.
A strong Civil Service is the bedrock on which good governance, policy execution and pathways for the delivery of democratic dividends can be achieved.
“I am further delighted to note your acknowledgement of the giant strides this administration has made since its inception in repositioning the Federal Civil Service for greater productivity and enhanced performance.
“I take note of the various milestone achievements you have listed which symbolises our commitment to the Civil Service in spite of the many challenges that we encountered from the beginning of this journey,’’ he said.
On request for salary review for civil servants by the committee, the president acknowledged the urgent need for a general salary review in the Federal Public Service due to worldwide problems of high inflation amidst general economic disruption.
“However, I wish to urge you to appreciate the revenue constraints being presently faced by Government which is caused mainly by the activities of unscrupulous citizens through the theft of our crude oil, a major contributor to our revenue base.
“This is compounded by global economic downturn as a result of the on-going Russian – Ukrainian war, which has led to price increases not just in the costs of goods and services globally, but also in the transportation of these goods and services across the globe.
“You are also aware of the enormous burden placed on our finances by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Furthermore, let me note the significant investment we have had to make in security over the last seven years, which means other sectors of the economy have not been able to receive as much funding as we would have liked.
“Only when our country is secured, that we are able to proceed and take on other aspects of our economic challenges,’’ he added.
Buhari explained that investment in security assets had been at a huge cost, after several decades of negligence.
“However, my confidence in the Nigerian Armed forces is unshaken, and I have tasked the Chief of Defense Staff and his service chiefs to take the war to these criminals who have made life difficult for many Nigerians.
“Recent reports have shown the message is now being heard and the dividends of our seven years of investments are now maturing.
“I implore our forces to continue with the current effort and determination until we rid our land of these miscreants.
“I also wish to reiterate that we will not allow a few criminals to have unfettered access to the nation’s crude oil supply hence I have directed our security agencies to speedily bring to a halt the activities of these vandals in the Niger Delta,’’ he said.
He said that criminal activities on seas, where large vessels seek to hide in neighboring countries will be checked.
He stressed that “there should be no hiding place for such criminals, and our cooperation with neighbouring countries in halting these crimes is being strengthened and tightened.
’’ Buhari told the Central Working Committee of ASCSN that request for restoration of the payment of gratuity to public service employees was one of the landmark provisions addressed in the 2004 Pension Reform Act. “Therefore, implementing your request for the payment of a bulk sum of gratuity to retired civil servants would negate the intent and provisions of the Act. “It should be acknowledged that a change in the implementation of the Act would require an amendment by the National Assembly.
“But more importantly, the Pension Reform Act is a better designed and robust system that allows for safety of pensioners funds and its payment.
’’ On the harmonisation of salary in the Public Service, the president said a committee was set up for that purpose, under the Minister of Finance which was still working.
According to Buhari, a report is expected to be submitted at the conclusion of its assignment, which would be studied for appropriate action.
’ The president said the Head of Service of the Federation had been directed to liaise with other relevant government agencies to see how the 2023 budget estimates could accommodate an increase in the budget of Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board.
“Let me thank you once more for this visit and to reassure you that this administration would not tolerate any policy that would destabilise the service.
“I therefore implore you to always acknowledge your very important role as the engine room of government no matter the political party that is in power.
This is the main reason why you must remain non-partisan in the discharge of your duties,’’ he said.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said members of ASCSN had been supportive in actualising programmes and policies of the administration.
He described the leadership as mostly public servants that were vast in civil service procedure, “so when you negotiate with them it is easy and when you make the right point they know’’.
In his remarks, the President of ASCSN, Dr Tommy Okon, noted that the administration had been “worker-friendly’’ with implementation of far reaching reforms.
He said such reforms included regular payment of salaries and allowances, increase in minimum wage, extension of retirement age for some workers, like teachers, and sustenance of the size of public service in spite of constraints of financing.
Okon however called for an increase in salaries of civil servants, following increasing cost of living, restoring full payment of gratuity at retirement, harmonisation of public service salaries and allowances, and increase in the budget of the National Housing Fund. He said the increasing cost of living had made it difficult for many public servants to carry on in spite of the minimum wage review, advising that benefits of all public servants should also be harmonised for fairness.
“There should be equal pay for jobs of equal value,’’ he added.
The president of ASCSN commended Buhari for ensuring access and inclusivity in governance, noting that it is the first time the association was meeting with a president of the country.
Breaking; Electricity workers suspend strike for two weeks < leadership of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), says the union has suspended the ongoing strike by two weeks.
Mr Godfrey Abah, the Chairman, FCT chapter of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday.
Abah said that the suspension followed a meeting held with the Ministers of Labour, Mr Chris Ngige, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, Powe as well as the Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jedy-Agba, and thevrepresentative of the Head of Service.
Others at the meeting he said were the representative of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and the management of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
He said all the issues were presented and a high power delegation was set up to look into the matter and report back within two weeks.
”On that premise, we decided to suspend the strike for two weeks pending when the issues will be resolved, ” he said.
Abah also said that on the issue the union had with the TCN’s Board, they had written a letter to schedule a meeting with them to resolve the issue.
NAN reports that NUEE had in a notice signed by its General Secretary, Mr Joe Ajaero directed its members to stop work effective Aug. 17.”You are hereby enjoined to mobilise immediately for serious picketing of TCN Headquarters and Stations nationwide over the directive by the TCN Board that all Principal Managers in acting capacity going to Assistant General Manager must appear for a promotion interview.
”This directive is in contravention of our Conditions of Service and Career Progression Paths and was unilaterally done without the relevant Stakeholders,” the union said.
The union also decried the failure of the authorities to pay the entitlements of former staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) since December 2019. (www.
President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on his 70th birthday, rejoicing with the political leader on many strides and achievements.
The president, in a congratulatory message by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, on Monday in Abuja stated that Ngige’s achievements included impact on governance at both state and national levels.
Buhari noted ”the passion, zeal and diligence that the minister brings into every responsibility”.
According to the president, Ngige started as a civil servant, with distinguished record of work at National Assembly and State House Clinics, before venturing into politics in 1999, where he served as party chieftain, governor and senator.
The president affirmed that Ngige’s penchant for excellence drives his interest to always motivate and breed leaders, leaving a legacy of hardwork in Anambra State as a governor, with landmark achievements in Infrastructure development.
He added that Ngige’s inclusive governance in Anambra had greatly inspired grassroots participation, and accountability that was dubbed “Anambra people’s money working for the people’’.
Buhari also acknowledged the foresight, sacrifice and insight of Ngige in labour laws, creating employment opportunities, and stimulating a healthy working relationship between employers and employed.
He said these virtues had led to various negotiations between unions and government, and putting the interest of workers first, especially for their wages, salaries and allowances.
The president prayed for the wellbeing of the minister and his family.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday administered the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office on three new Permanent Secretaries of the Federal Civil Service.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Permanent Secretaries include Lydia Jafiya from Adamawa; Udom Okokon Ekenam from Akwa Ibom and Farouk Yabo from Sokoto State.
The president performed the ceremony shortly before the commencement of the weekly virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), at the Council Chambers of the presidential villa, Abuja.
NAN reports that those in attendance of the FEC meeting include Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who is recuperating from a recent surgical kneel operation The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; Head of the Federal Civil Service, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan and the National Security Council (NSA), retired Gen. Babagana Monguno are also in attendance of the meeting.
The Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Information and Culture; Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr Zainab Ahmed, Lai Mohammed and Muhammed Bello respectively, as well as the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami are also attending the meeting.
Others are the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Ali Pantami; Power, Abubakar Aliyu; Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige; and that of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq.
Other members of Council are participating in the meeting virtually from their various offices in Abuja.