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FG , Labour ’s Eight- Hour Meeting Ends In Deadlock

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images 90 1 FG , Labour ’s Eight- Hour Meeting Ends In Deadlock

An eight-hour meeting involving the Federal Government, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress ended in a deadlock on Tuesday, following the inability of the parties to reach a consensus.
While the organised labour was demanding the reversal of the hikes in the price of petrol and electricity tariffs, the Federal Government pleaded for understanding, saying it could not sustain the fuel subsidy.
Although the government team made presentations on its policies, it didn’t specify how the effects of the hikes in electricity and petroleum products would be alleviated.
Also on Tuesday, the TUC has said the indefinite strike and nationwide protest billed to commence from Wednesday, September 23, would hold as planned.
The congress had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government on Monday, threatening to embark on an indefinite strike if the Federal Government failed to revert to the old electricity tariff and the price of petrol.
Olaleye in response to inquiries , said in a text message at 6:30 pm on Tuesday said, “The ultimatum still stands; no acceptable explanation was presented. Still in the meeting.”
The dialogue which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, began around 11 am and dragged on till past 7 pm without a resolution on the issues raised by the organized labour.
The parties, however, agreed that the unions should go for consultations with their executive council members and return for the second leg of the meeting at a future date.
The labour unions are expected to hold an expanded meeting today (Wednesday), where they would take a final position on the issues raised at the dialogue and revert back to the government.
Lagos promises to pay minimum wage October
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige led the government team to the parley which also had in attendance the Minister of State, Labour, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and others.
The labour team was led by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; President of the TUC, Quadri Olaleye, Secretary-General of the TUC, Musa Lawal, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria President, Festus Osifo and the President of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Association of Nigeria, Williams Akporeha, among others.
In his welcome address, Ngige said there was an urgent need for all stakeholders in the country to join hands to fashion out “how we can survive the economic challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He said the meeting was “a bilateral dialogue between us as Nigerians to consider the state of the economy and events that have necessitated recent increases in electricity tariff and the price of Premium Motor Spirit.”
Fuel price, electricity tariff hikes have erased minimum wage gain – NLC president
But Wabba argued that the high prices of petroleum products and electricity tariff had erased the gains of the minimum wage.
He faulted the government for unilaterally fixing the prices of electricity and petrol without consultations with Nigerians.
According to him, many Nigerians are struggling to survive because of the high cost of living occasioned by the government’s recent policies which included the increase in the Value Added Tax.
Wabba stated, “The question now is what do you have on the table to actually cushion the effect on workers and their families because they have been pushed to the wall. They are already enraged.
“Do you have anything for us so that we can say yes, despite this challenges, this is what I have for Nigerian workers so that they can have something that can cushion this effect for them?
“Already, the value of the minimum wage has been eroded; that is the reality. If Ghana compares their minimum wage with our own, you will see their minimum wage.”
He accused the government of transferring the “inefficiency in the subsidy regime” to the consumers which they (consumers) have to pay through the hike in price.
The NLC president admonished the government to fix the nation’s refineries and stop lining the pockets of fuel through a fraudulent subsidy regime.
Wabba noted, “I agree with Mr President that subsidy is a fraud but do we address it or transfer it to the customers? That is where the issue is. We don’t need to transfer it to the customers.
“More than 90 countries of the world actually have minimum wage on this. Those are the issues that are biting very hard and workers and citizens are crying aloud that there is much burden on them.
“We have increased VAT, we have increased some taxes, we have increased now the fuel price and the electricity tariff. An ordinary worker can’t pay those charges. In fact, higher-level officers are complaining seriously. This is the predicament we are in.
“Therefore let us also look for solutions. How do we mitigate this impact which is very pronounced on workers?”
On his part, the TUC president asked the government to reverse the recent price hikes, which he said, had been biting Nigerians hard.
Olaleye stated, “Nigerian workers are crying and the populace is also crying. Last December, we were so happy that when we signed the minimum wage agreement and Nigerian workers were happy that their lots were increased.
“Unfortunately, now they are crying. By calculation, we are losing an additional 15 per cent of what we gained as a result of the signing minimum wage. For somebody who is paid N6,666 as increment, now he is losing not less than N25, 000 from his income. The N6, 666 is going, additional N15, 000 is added.”
Sylva in his presentations stated that the FG had yet to begin the full deregulation of the downstream sector “because of the desire of President Buhari not to inflict more pains on the masses.”
The minister emphasized that the landing cost of petrol is N163 but it was being sold for N161 per litre, indicating that full deregulation was yet to take off in the country.
He said going by the current exchange rate, the products could have been sold at N183 per litre.
He also said the FG spent N10.4 trillion on petrol subsidy between 2016 and 2019, stressing that the country was losing N1 billion daily to fuel subsidy between 2016-2019.
He added that the country was in a bad shape because of the crash of crude oil globally.
“We have not fully deregulated because of the concerns the government has for Nigerians. Price of fuel could go up to N183 per litre going by the current rate of the dollar. We need to open up the economy, even though, the initial stage may bring pains to Nigerians,” he stated.
The Federal Government two weeks ago increased the ex-depot price of petrol from N 138.62 to N147.67, prompting marketers to adjust their petrol prices to between N158 and N162 from N148 to N150 in August. The ex-depot price is the price at which government sells petrol to marketer
The fuel price hike came at a time electricity distribution companies increased their tariffs.

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Nigerian Fraud Suspect , Wanted By FBI For $6 Million Scam Surrenders To EFCC

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images 66 2 Nigerian Fraud Suspect , Wanted By FBI For $6 Million Scam Surrenders To EFCC

A Nigerian, Felix Osilama Okpoh, who is wanted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for his alleged involvement in a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scheme that defrauded over 70 different businesses in the United States, has turned himself in to Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr Okpoh, 31, who allegedly conspired with five others to defraud their American victims of over $6million, was led to the Lagos office of the EFCC by his father, retired Colonel Garuba Okpoh and his mother Justina Okpoh.
A spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said the suspect surrendered on September 18 and that investigations into his case had since commenced.
Mr Uwujaren quoted Mr Okpoh as saying, during interrogation, that he decided to surrender himself to the Commission out of respect for his parents and his resolve to be morally upright.
The FBI accused the suspect of allegedly providing hundreds of bank accounts to Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh and other co-conspirators, Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode, and Nnamdi Orson Benson, that were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers.
Bank accounts that Mr Okpoh allegedly provided to Mr Uzuh allegedly received fraudulent wire transfers from victim businesses totalling over $1million
On August 21, 2019, Mr Okpoh was indicted in the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska, on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. On August 22, 2019, a federal warrant was issued for his arrest.
On June 16, 2020, United States Attorney Joe Kelly and Kristi K. Johnson, Special Agent in Charge of the Omaha field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced the unsealing of indictments charging the six Nigerians for their involvement in the fraud schemes.
“The schemes included individual victims and victim businesses both in Nebraska and other states,” the U.S.
Department of Justice said in a statement announcing the indictment. “BECs are sophisticated cybercrimes involving electronic transfer payments or automated clearinghouse transfers.”
“The indictments charge the defendants with one or more of the following violations of federal law: 1) Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000; 2) Identity theft and access device fraud, each punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.
“The Nigerian nationals charged and still at large are Richard Uzuh; Micheal Olorunyomi; Alex Ogunshakin; Felix Okpoh; Abiola Kayode and Nnamdi Benson. An indictment is a formal accusation returned by a grand jury upon establishing probable cause. The indictment is not evidence of guilt and defendants are entitled to a presumption of innocence. Two related defendants have entered pleas of guilty. Adewale Aniyeloye was sentenced in the District of Nebraska to 96 months’ imprisonment for wire fraud. Onome Ijomone received a 60-month sentence for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.”

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Nigeria ’ s Debts : How Each Nigerian Owes ₦155 , 000

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images 65 2 Nigeria ’ s Debts : How Each Nigerian Owes ₦155 , 000

The Debt Management Office, DMO, has announced that the total debt stock of Nigeria rose to N31 trillion as of June 2020.
It also said the debts are expected to rise this year following more debts to be sourced from international financiers.
As of March 2020, the debt was at N28.6trn comprising all debts of the Federal Government, the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The latest debt total of N31.009trn debt is about $85.897 billion while that of March which was N28.628trn was about N79.303bn.
Cause of increase
The debt stock grew by N2.38trn or $6.59bn within the three months interval.
The additional increase was due to the $3.36bn Budget Support Loan from the International Monetary Fund IMF), new Domestic Borrowing to finance the Revised 2020 Appropriation Act, the issuance of the N162.557bn Sukuk, and Promissory Notes issued to settle Claims of Exporters.
The components of the debts are:
The multilateral debts are the highest of the stock of N16.360trn accounting for 51.97% of the total stock. The 10 agencies include IMF, World Bank Group, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds.
The bilateral debts account for N3.948trn representing 12.54% of the debt stock taken from the international development agencies of China, France, Japan, India and Germany.
The third debt category is the commercial debt which is N11.168trn and represents 35.48% of the debt. This is the second largest debt after those of the multilateral agencies with Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds accounting for them.
Further rise
The debt stock will rise with the expected borrowing from the World Bank, African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank which were arranged to finance the 2020 Budget Appropriation.
The Nigeria Customs Service was recently given part of these funds to automate its services at the ports, to the tune of $3.1 billion.
Most of the loans are long term facilities with the repayment beginning already while the fresh loans’ repayment begin from 2022.
On the Sukuk bonds and other domestic bonds, their maturity periods are often between five and seven years for the repayment.
What you owe
The ministry of finance recently said there are plans made for the loans to be repaid. So far in the 2020 budget, over N3 trillion or a quarter of the budget is dedicated to debt servicing, for repaying the debts.
At N31 trillion, every Nigerian from the over 200 million population owes the debtors N155,000 in debt.
This debt per Nigerian will rise further when the loans from World Bank, AfDB and IsDB comes in later this year.

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Operation Panther : FRSC Records 1 ,975 Arrests In 11 Days

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images 22 4 Operation Panther : FRSC Records 1 ,975 Arrests In 11 Days

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) have arrested 1,975 traffic offenders within the first two weeks of its ‘Operation Panther’ traffic exercise.The arrests were made between September 1st and September 11th 2020, with a total of 2,225 traffic violations recorded.
‘Operation Panther’ was flagged off as a special patrol exercise by the Zone 7 of the FRSC, comprising the FCT and Niger State. The exercise was aimed at bringing about a new orientation for driver’s to deal with hazard
headlong and promote responsible driving in the FCT and Niger as well as to ensure that only licensed drivers ply the highways.
The Zonal Commanding Officer, Zone 7 HQ Abuja, ACM Jonas Agwu, in a statement, expressed delight at the outcome of the Special Patrol, saying it was a fallout of the ongoing Special Intervention Patrol (SIP) aimed at instilling traffic sanity in the Federal Capital Territory and Niger state.
Mr. Agwu noted that the outcome revealed critical offences which are top causative factors behind fatal road traffic crashes. The critical offences, according to ACM Agwu, stand at 772 offences with overloading which has become a daily infraction standing at 195 offences. Further breakdown of the two weeks enforcements revealed that 155 offenders were arrested for driving and phoning infractions, while traffic light infractions (light sign violation) stands at 48 offences.
Other violations include: 102 offenders for Tyre violation, 5 offences for dangerous driving, while riding motorcycle without crash helmet stands at 79. The Zonal Commanding Officer warned the motoring public that ‘’Operation Panther II which is the second phase had commenced on Monday 14th Sept, 2020.
He said the other two weeks will focus on unlicensed drivers, obstructions and lane indiscipline in addition to vehicle number plate violation, failure to install speed limit device, driver’s license violation and failure to move over’’ traffic infractions, ACM Agwu said. He appealed to motorists in the FCT and Niger State to support the ongoing patrol by obeying traffic rules to promote responsible driving.
“The Zone will not relent in the efforts which has the complimentary and collaboration backings of Sister Agencies such as the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps , among others”; he said.

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