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JUST IN: FG Announces N24,000 Proposed New Minimum Wage For Civil Servants

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has said that after consultations, it has proposed N24,000 as the new minimum wage for civil servants.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, stated this Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Ngige was responding to media reports quoting the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, saying that the tri-partite committee discussing the demand for a new minimum wage, has agreed to increase it from the current N19,200 to N30,000.

“Such information is not true,” Ngige said.

The Minister said when the committee reconvened on October 5, after the NLC had called off its nationwide strike, “the organised labour came down to N30,000, the organised private sector came down to N25,000.”

He also said the federal government had to consult with the 36 state governors.

After the consultations, he said, the federal government proposed N24,000 while governors proposed N20,000.

Ngige said the government is therefore still consulting and negotiation is ongoing.

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UBA Hinges Future Performance on Cost Efficiency, Improved Asset Quality

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has assured its local and international investors that it’s prudent focus on improved asset quality as well as the continuous adoption of strict cost efficient measures will help the bank achieve its objectives and priorities for the 2019 financial year and beyond.

This the bank has said will culminate into an institution with even stronger indices laced with the capacity to churn out strong double-digit growth in annuity-based trade services, enhanced offerings and improved customer service.

Already, the bank has instituted a number of enhanced risk management and control framework which have in no small measure contributed to its financial performances and overall balance sheet growth over the years.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who noted this in a submission while presenting the bank’s 2018 full year results during an international investor/ analysts conference call on Thursday, explained that UBA’s well diversified asset book supported by stable funding structure, placed it in a premium position to perform remarkably despite the falling economic indices in its operating environment.

He said, “In spite of slow recovery in economic activities in Nigeria (our single largest market), the Group’s total assets has grown by 19.7%, driven largely by a strong deposit growth of 23%, as the drive for retail deposits continue to yield desired results. Leveraging on enhanced customer service, the Group grew retail deposits by 48%, thus strengthening the funding base and providing the foundation for lower cost of funds in 2019.

“Notably, the growth in balance sheet also partly reflects the impact of exchange rate difference between the reporting dates (2017: N331/USD vs. 2018: N359/USD), as 37% of loans and 27% of overall balance sheet is FCY-denominated. The Group maintained its appetite for a well-diversified balance sheet, with over 60% in liquid, low risk instruments.”

Uzoka explained to the investors that the bank recorded impressive growths achieved across major financial lines, recording a 48 percent year-on-year growth in retail deposits and improved CASA ratio to 77 percent.

In its results for the year end December 2018, UBA gross earnings grew by 7.0 percent to N494.0 billion, compared to N461.6 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017. The Bank’s total assets also grew significantly by 19.7 percent to an unprecedented N4.9 trillion for the year under review

Throwing more light on the financials, he stated that gross earnings grew by 7% year-on-year, despite regulation and market conditions undermined the non-interest income line. Interest income, which contributed 73% of gross earnings, grew by 11%, driven by strong interest income on treasuries, reflecting the low-risk appetite and treasury-led strategy adopted during the year. He noted that the lower non-interest income was occasioned by market condition and regulatory impact on FX trading income, adding that growing volume on FX trading is compensating for lower margin on this business, thus reinforcing our positive growth expectation on this income line in 2019.

While speaking on the strength of the financial institution in the coming years, especially on the back of it’s African and non-African subsidiaries, Uzoka said the bank’s recent foray into key markets and economies remain a milestone that will catapult the institution in the coming years.

He said, “UBA is a unique pan-African franchise with diversified risk and earnings across fast growing African economies with sound governance, risk management and compliance culture which can be seen from our adherence to international best practice. Our robust digital banking platform through which we are leveraging technology to serve over 15 million customers in a cost efficient approach that has helped to deepen African banking penetration.

“We have the strong financial capacity backed by high capitalization (BASEL II capital ratio well above requirement) and strong liquidity, and we have worked hard towards connecting Africa and the world through our presence in key African markets and major global financial centres such as New York, London and Paris.”

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BREAKING: INEC Resumes Collation Of Bauchi Governorship Election Results

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has decided to resume from Tuesday the collation of the governorship election result in Bauchi State and may declare the winner of the poll hitherto ruled as inconclusive.

The commission announced the decision in a press statement on Friday night after resolving some issues around the result of Tafawa Balewa Local Government and some polling units in Ningi Local Government.

INEC did not state whether by the decision, the scheduled supplementary election on March has been cancelled.

According to INEC, the number of cancelled votes in four polling units in Ningi Local Government was 2,533 and not 25,330 as recorded.

On Tafawa Balewa Local Government election result, where collation was disrupted by armed gangs, affecting seven out of 11 registration areas for governorship and six out of 11 for state assembly elections, INEC said a committee set up has found that the results in polling units and registration areas are “available and in safe custody”.

INEC thus decided to resume the resumption and conclusion of the collation of results of the council area for both the governorship and state assembly elections

A new collation and returning officer for Tafawa Balewa has been appointed “to continue and conclude the collation process in place of the original collation officer, who withdrew from the exercise citing threats to her life and those of her family members”.

The threatened collation officer was Dominion Anosike.

The governorship election in Bauchi State is a straight fight between incumbent Mohammed Abubakar of the All Progressives Congress and former minister, Bala Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Bala was said to have won the Tafawa Balewa Local Government election, putting him in an overall lead of his APC counterpart, but the INEC returning officer, Prof. Mohammed Kyari, declared the election inconclusive.

In declaring the election inconclusive, Kyari gave the scores of incumbent governor as 465,453 votes and Mohammed as 469,512 votes.

“The margin between the winner and opponent is less than the total number of votes cancelled in some polling units.By law, since the margin of winner is less than the total number of votes cancelled and registered voters in the areas where the votes have been cancelled, this elections is hereby declared inconclusive,” he said.

He said his decision was in line with section 26 part 53 of the Electoral Act.

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DSS Gave Me $500,000 To Set-Up Lawan — Femi Otedola

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The trial of former Rep. Farouk Lawan resumed in Abuja on Monday with Mr Femi Otedola, testifying that the $500,000 offered to the accused was from Department of State Service (DSS).

Business magnate Otedola appeared before before Justice Angela Otaluka of the FCT High Court, Apo as a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Lawan.

He said the money was given to him by the DSS to set a trap for Lawan after he wrote a petition against him.

He accused Lawan of demanding 3 million dollars as bribe from him to exonerate his oil company, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, from the alleged subsidy scam in 2012.

He further told the court that the 500,000 dollars was part payment of the 3 million dollars being demanded by Lawan, which was eventually given to him under the supervision of the DSS.

Otedola said he petitioned the DSS immediately Lawan demanded for the bribe.

“Lawan said he was going to exonerate my company after giving him the money, security cameras were mounted in my living room to capture the exchange of money between me and the defendant.

“The video is with the DSS, the money was given to him in two tranches $250,000 each,” he said.

When reminded by Chief Ozekhome, that the best time “to catch a thief is when the operation is ongoing,” Otedola said he did not know why DSS failed to arrest Lawan at that moment.

The Judge, however, adjourned the matter till March 8 for continuation of cross examination of the prosecution witness.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lawan is being prosecuted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for allegedly collecting 500,000 dollars out of 3 million dollars bribe.

The money was said to have been requested to remove Otedola’s company’s name from the list of firms indicted by the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy in 2012.

(NAN)

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