The Senate on Monday pleaded with organised labour to shelve its planned nationwide industrial action over a new minimum wage in the interest of the country.
The upper chamber said that Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its sister organisations should drop the proposed strike because findings showed that President Muhammadu Buhari is working to convince states to pay the new wage.
Chairman Senate Committee on Labour, Senator Abu Ibrahim, who spoke on organised labour’s strike threat over the N30,000 minimum wage agitation, said that the federal and state government on one hand and organised labour, on the other hand, should work to strike a balance in the interest of the country.
The Katsina South lawmaker noted that the negotiation for a new salary structure is basically for the federal and state governments to conclude since they are to implement resolutions.
He said that the Senate can only intervene if there is serious disagreement that required the input of the legislature.
He insisted that it is obvious that President Buhari is working round the clock trying to convince the states to agree to pay the proposed new minimum wage.
The committee chairman added that labour unions are Nigerians who could also appreciate the financial state of the states.
He noted that it is equally evident that “there is no way, a state like Lagos can pay an amount and you expect some other states to pay like Lagos.”
He suggested the need to look at the system of the minimum wage, especially a change in the variations to allow the states to determine their minimum wages.
Ibrahim who took over the Senate Labour Committee shortly before the Senate went on Christmas and New Year break, noted that “what is important is for the government to sit with labour and proffer solution and labour should know that Nigeria is a federation and the federal government had to give assistance to the states to be able to pay even the current N18, 000.”
Both sides in the negotiation, he said, should be reasonable in order to seal an amicable solution in the interest of the country.
According to him, “President Buhari has been a salary earner and he knows how the workers feel and I am sure he would be on the sides of the workers.”
He noted that what is needed is harmonization and understanding on both sides to reach a middle ground.
On the transmission of a new minimum wage bill to the National Assembly for passage into law, Ibrahim said that it should not lead to strike since the federal government can transmit the agreement “but must carry the states along.”
He noted that the federal government cannot act unilaterally especially if states refused to go along with the federal government on what to pay.
He said, “The federal government can pay, but how many of the states can pay? Will the federal government continue to assist the states to pay the N30, 000?
“Even if the agreement is transmitted, it has to pass through the committee and the committee would work on it and follow all the processes before the Senate can finally decide and pass the law,” he said.
On the 2019 Appropriation Bill, Ibrahim said that as far as he is concerned, the National Assembly can conclude work on the budget within three weeks after resumption next week.
Ex-Gov. Abubakar Spent N2.3bn To Buy Burial Materials, Bauchi Governor Alleges
As the blame game continues in Bauchi State, Governor Bala Mohammed has alleged that his predecessor, Mohammed Abubakar spent a whopping sum of N2.3 billion to buy materials for burying dead bodies in the state.
The governor who spoke through his spokesperson, Dr. Ladan Salihu, in an interview with newsmen in Bauchi over the weekend, alleged that the said funds were spent between January and May 2019.
Ladan Salihu explained that over N900 million of the money was spent in buying white cloth materials used for wrapping dead bodies while over N1.4 billion was used to buy the wood for lacing the graves for the burial.
According to him, the government discovered various issues of corruption, venality, daylight robbery of the commonwealth of Bauchi State where billions of Naira were syphoned illegally.
The spokesperson further alleged that: “These monies which ought to have been appropriated by the Assembly before expenditure, all of a sudden emanated from our treasury books.
How could you imagine that a state government, within five months that is between January and May, 2019, spent well over N2.3 billion on funeral materials, the clothes that are used in wrapping dead bodies and the woods that you lace the graveyards with?
“The immediate past government spent N2.3 billion, that government did not spend a quarter of that amount in our own hospitals and clinics. They have the temerity to want to put up a show of shame,” he lamented.
When asked if the government has any proof to substantiate its claim, he said that there is no iota of doubt on the matter saying that there are documental evidence to prove it.
“All these are captured in the report of the Transition Committee and these were gathered from documents and vouchers and payments made from our treasury books. There is the Freedom of Information law, go there and find out for yourself from those documents.
“We are talking about the principle behind it. You have bought these materials for funerals in graveyards, what have you done to the Christian cemetery? But we are saying that it is wrong completely, it is not the duty of government to buy burial materials for anybody.
“It is the responsibility of the family, the community and people of goodwill. It has never existed in our history books that the government bought those materials in the first place.
“So, you know that these things were bought for a reason, you would not see the materials, because they have disappeared into or out of ballot boxes,” he alleged.
Ladan Salihu further vowed that: “Government will take very, very stern measures, we will recover every kobo that has been looted or stolen by the immediate past administration and in fact, the administration before it. Where it is established that there is a clear case of misappropriation or outright stealing of public funds. It is an obligation, you don’t allow criminality to run roughshod on the rest of us because these are public funds.
“We must take steps, there’s no factor of fear or favour or ill will, it is just the way the business of government must be conducted. We will take every measure, we use every institution and go after everyone that has stolen Bauchi State’s money.
“We will pursue this case in the relevant institutions of recovery whether it is EFCC, ICPC, the constitution of a Special Recovery Mechanism within the state, I can assure you, we will pursue these issues vigorously, rigorously and without let,” he added.
When our correspondent contacted the Special Adviser to the former Governor Abubakar on Media and Strategy, Ali M. Ali, on phone, he simply said, “that is very ridiculous, I cannot make further comments on the issue because I am not aware of such allegation.
“I’ve not heard of anything like that, so I will speak on it when I make my findings but this is laughable. I will get back to you on that when I have done my findings from my principal,” he added.
Presidents of Rwanda, Senegal And DRC To Speak At The Largest Annual Gathering Of African Entrepreneurs
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s champion of entrepreneurship, has announced the line-up of speakers and activities for the 5th Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum — the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs and the African entrepreneurship ecosystem.
For the Forum’s Presidential Dialogue, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), H.E Félix Tshisekedi will join previously announced President of Rwanda, H.E Paul Kagame and President of Senegal, H.E Macky Sall, in an interactive, charged plenary session that opens Day 2 of the Forum. The Presidential Dialogue will be moderated by TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, and will feature all three presidents engaging directly with an audience of 5,000, comprising of entrepreneurs, policymakers, investors and business leaders, with thousands of people interacting live online, through TEFConnect.
The Forum presents the largest single annual opportunity for entrepreneurs and policy makers to interact directly and all sessions at the Forum have private sector and public sector leaders anchor panel discussions, masterclasses, and a dynamic pitching competition that will engage an audience of start-up entrepreneurs, development institutions, and policymakers.
The speakers expected for this year’s Forum include Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of African Export-Import (AFREXIMBANK); Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank (AFDB); Dr. Awele Elumelu, Trustee, Tony Elumelu Foundation and Founder, Avon Medical; Kennedy Uzoka, Group CEO, UBA Group Plc; Mrs. Djene Kaba Conde, First Lady, Guinea; amongst other notable global business leaders.
Every year, the Tony Elumelu Foundation hosts the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs, policymakers and business leaders in one location. This year’s Forum, themed “Empowering African Entrepreneurs”, will take place at the iconic Transcorp Hilton Hotel, in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. The Forum will also include the UBA Marketplace, where UBA, Africa’s global bank, brings together businesses from across the continent.
At the 2018 forum, TEFConnect, the largest digital platform for African entrepreneurs was launched to connect entrepreneurs to the opportunities they need for business success. TEFConnect will take centre stage at this year’s Forum as global debates move to technology as a key driver of economic development in Africa.
For more information: https://www.tonyelumelufoundation.org/forum2019
Jim Ovia Advocates For Disruptive Technology To Scale Businesses In Africa
According to Zenith Bank Founder/Chairman, Jim Ovia, businesses stand a chance to triple growth rate and earnings through innovation and technology.
The options are to “innovate and transform or die”, he said. It is the technology age and businesses operating out of Africa should continually adopt technology to experience exponential scale in their business development.
He made this statement while chairing the launch of the PwC Experience Centre. Mr. Ovia added that the Experience Centre is a forward-thinking way to disrupt the over $1tn consultancy service industry yet to be digitized.
Therefore, the Experience Centre is an effective move towards expanding PwC’s innovative solution services across West Africa.