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NLC kicks against privatisation

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said it is against the privatisation of public enterprises. It said attempts by the Federal Government to sell public assets, would deny ordinary Nigerians access to services such as power, health and education, as they would be out of reach of the citizenry.

Speaking at its 17th Harmattan School for members in Abuja, NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, urged the government to adhere to global best practices as these services are considered as the fundamental rights of all citizens.

“We still believe that these public institutions are established for the public good and to serve as a social service point for the forerunners. So, we say no to the privatisation of public institutions and this is the position of the Public Service International, where they said all these services are not for sale,’’ Wabba said.

While noting that no privatisation has ever worked in Nigeria, Wabba said privatisation under any guise, including Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), was not the solution to the poor performance of the public sector.

He said more than 70 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line. “In fact, a number of international economic reports forecast that despite the significant difference in our population size, Nigeria may soon overtake India as the poverty capital of the world,” Wabba added.

According to him, the reasons for endemic poverty in Nigeria are not far-fetched. “Our economic structure does not provide the enabling space for mass industrialisation imbued with the capacity for sustainable jobs. Our public policies and consumption pattern still encourage the export of jobs and the import of poverty,” he explained.

Wabba said the unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 18.80 per cent in the third quarter of 2017, from 16.20 per cent in the second quarter.

According to him, unemployment has remained high with an alarming proportion of the youths jobless.

His words: “The few that have a semblance of employment operate under very precarious conditions denoted by job insecurity, poor work conditions and gender discrimination.

“The trend of factory closures has continued to spiral out of control, turning our once lively centres of economic productivity into worship and entertainment centres.

“The crisis of widening unemployment in Nigeria has been exacerbated by indiscriminate sack and retrenchment of workers by some public and private employers.

“Unfortunately, the different levels of government that should be more concerned about protecting our people are the ones leading the campaign to push more Nigerians into the unemployment market.”

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Public policy

2019 Election: Minimum wage will determine workers voting pattern – NLC

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The general secretary of the Nigerian labor congress, Dr peter Ozo-Eson has declared that the deliberate delay of the increase in minimum wage by the present administration will have ripple effects on the 2019 general elections.

The Nigeria Labor Congress has engaged in a lot of lobbying and meetings proposing to the ministry of labor the possibility of raising the minimum wage to 30,000 to further increase the standard of living of the public servant, but the executive arm has still not passed the bill to the national assembly for implementation.

The Ama Pepple-led Tripartite Committee submitted its recommendation to the president some weeks ago and it has ignored the urgency and importance of the issue considering its slow to action.

“Mr President had promised at the occasion that he will act quickly on it. We are disturbed that up till now he has not sent the bill to the National Assembly.” – Mr Ozo-Eson said.

“Therefore, our advice to workers is that those in government who have shown no inte

rest in the welfare of workers, or have unleashed terror on workers, should be voted out. “We urge our members to use their voting powers to vote such people out,” he said.

The NLC  official also noted that this recommendation was supposed to have been implemented two years ago .

Mr  Ozo-Eson expressed dissatisfaction about the “i don’t care” attitude practiced and shown by the government in power and he implored all workers who have been victims of the present situation to be careful of how they vote in the coming elections so as not to fall in the same.

 

He said that though, the political parties have started their campaign, the National Assembly has assured workers that legislators would attend to bills of national importance. He also said that the National Assembly members had specifically promised that they would give accelerated hearing if the bill on the minimum wage reached them. (NAN).

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How Atiku plans to #GetNigeriaWorkingAgain

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The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP), presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, officially flagged off his campaign with the unveiling of his policy document, which he said would guide him in governing Nigeria if he wins the election next year.

The 63-page document, listed human capital development, job creation, poverty eradication and infrastructure development as the cornerstones of his economic policy if elected president of Nigeria next year.

Titled, “Let’s Get Nigeria Working Again,” to be officially unveiled today (Monday), the PDP flag bearer said his broad mission is to unite and secure the country by building a strong, resilient and prosperous modern economy that would work for Nigerians’ needs.

Specifically, he said his target would be to create three million jobs annually, just as he disclosed that he would re-launch the National Open Apprenticeship Programme (NOAP) and ensure speedy passage of the National Research and Innovation Fund Bill.

He stated, “Poverty does not simply have one solution; rather it requires the concerted application of many solutions.

“Nigeria has vast natural resources, but our challenge remains harnessing these resources for the greatest good.”

Continuing, the PDP presidential candidate said his vision is to deliver an affordable and easily accessible transportation system that would be fully integrated across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

According to him, “There would be deliberate efforts to increase access to electricity for Nigerians, including those in rural areas.

“My vision is to ensure that Nigeria’s economy is responsive to the challenges of the 21st-century knowledge economy by keeping the amazingly dynamic technological pace.

“I will like to see a country where our people live and work in an environment that guarantees the highest level of social empowerment.”

The former vice president stressed that Nigeria could surpass its growth expectations beyond its dreams, adding that he would ensure an increased inflow of foreign direct investment to a maximum of 2.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025.

He said he would work towards achieving the lowest corporate income tax rate in Africa; strengthen credit guarantee initiatives of infra-credit, by substantially increasing its capital base and lower transaction costs; amongst others.

According to him, his pledge to Nigerians is that “we can get Nigeria working again.”

Atiku said his mission would be to reinforce Nigeria’s unity by promoting the spirit of co-operation and consensus, especially in a society “that is as complex and as heterogeneous as Nigeria;” establishing a strong effective democratic government that secures Nigerians and provides opportunities for them to realise their full potentials, allows greater autonomy for the federating units and gives each region in the country a sense of belonging.

He pointed out that despite the country’s vast resources, Nigeria has failed to deliver the development and living standards expected in the country.

“Nigeria’s under-performance is attributable largely to the many economic and political structural fault lines that limit its ability to sustain growth, create jobs and achieve real poverty reduction.

“Nigeria needs a unity that is transparently and collectively negotiated and agreed upon. We need to restructure our polity,” he added.

Atiku pointed out that while economic growth in Nigeria has remained slow and uninspiring, the economy has remained undiversified, uncompetitive and foreign investments have continued to decline.

In addition, he stated in the policy document that Nigeria is in a precarious fiscal position, has a fragile financial system, poor exchange rate management system as well as regional disparities.

He said his administration would promote agri-business by collaborating with the states; promote the manufacturing sector to achieve increased manufacturing output from nine per cent to 30 per cent of GDP by 2025.

Similarly, he disclosed plan to support micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), saying Nigeria has a vibrant informal sector with nearly 40 million MSMEs employing 60 million people or 84 per cent of the labour force; promote the oil and gas sector by among other things, expanding the oil and gas reserves and boost upstream and downstream production.

Atiku said if elected, he would build a knowledge-based economy and establish a technology support programme to be funded by a Diaspora bond.

The PDP presidential candidate said his administration, if elected, would increase Nigeria’s export base and the country’s market in Africa; sign-off the African Free Trade Continental Agreement (AfCFTA), which the Buhari government has failed to sign; engage the organised private sector to identify how best to harness the benefits of the Africa Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA); promote public-private partnerships, among others.

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Public policy

Bill to end age discrimination against job seekers passes second reading

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Bill to end age discrimination against job seekers passes second reading.

Job Seekers

A bill seeking to stop age discrimination/restrictions against job seekers in the Federal Government agencies has successfully passed its second reading at the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was sponsored by Reps member, Sergius Ogun, seeks to put an end to the practice of disqualifying job seekers on account of their age, who are ordinarily qualified for positions in the Federal Government agencies.

“The rationale for this bill is to ensure that no artificial barrier is allowed to preponderate over merit, which rarely has anything to do with age,” he said.

He further explained that it is common to see job adverts, requesting for applications for employment and pegging the age between 25 and 28 years for entry level.

According to him, that system only helps to widen the unemployment gap in the country and must be reviewed.

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Public policy

Treasury Single Account saves Nigeria N24.7b monthly

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said about N24.7 billion was being saved monthly as a result of the implementation of Treasury Single Accounts (TSA) scheme, the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN), among other measures.

President Muhammadu Buhari

He said the administration was serious about the fight against corruption, considering the giant strides it had recorded and the huge sums of money recovered and saved for investment in infrastructure and other sectors of the economy.

Buhari, who spoke while declaring open the 2018 edition of the e-Nigerian Conference at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, said recently about N1.6 billion was recovered from one single account through the TSA.

“These policy initiatives reinforce this administration’s fight against corruption by ensuring transparency and accountability in government business transactions,” Buhari said on the occasion which was attended by the Ministers of FCT, Justice, Sports, Communications, Works, Housing and Power as well as Service Chiefs and other top government officials.

He described the theme of the conference: Promoting Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies Through Effective Regulations as apt, noting that it would build on the previous year’s conference anchored on fostering the digital economy through local content development.

The conference was organized by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), headed by Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

Buhari said he issued Executive Order 003 and 005 to ensure that government agencies patronized locally manufactured ICT products and ensure strong commitment at strengthening the role of science and technological innovations in the development of the country.

Buhari commended NITDA for chatting the road-map for economic diversification from oil and gas to a knowledge-based economy through information and communication technology (ICT).

He said NITDA is expected to work with all relevant government agencies to ensure full compliance with the directive which is expected to strengthen the regulatory roles of NITDA and ensure compliance, stating that defaulters of IT Clearance among the public establishments are to be reported to the government.

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