FG To Increase Salaries Next Year– Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has assured Nigerian workers of a pay rise next year.

Ngige stated this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, in an interactive session with journalists on Tuesday.

He said the various committees handling the minimum wage issue were working to arrive at something.

He said the minimum wage under Buhari would not be like any pay rise in the country.

The Minister said, “minimum wage is a constitutional issue and is in the exclusive list.

“The Nigerian workers are entitled to a review of their pay under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The various committees handling this matter are all working hard to realise the objective. Some are at the final stages of their work.”

He said the kind of minimum wage being worked out by the Buhari administration, would be enforceable by workers in both private and public sectors.

Ngige said that the new minimum wage would be couched in such a way that any employer of Labour in the country who would pay his workers below the minimum wage would be held liable.



NLC Warns Against Another Fuel Price Increase

The Nigeria Labour Congress has warned the Federal Government against any further increase in the pump price of petroleum products, especially Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol.

The warning is coming as the retail stations of the Nigerian Petroleum Corporations in the Federal Capital Territory and its environs have increased the pump price of the PMS to N145 from the initial N141.

Similarly, some private marketers of petroleum products are now selling petrol in their outlets at N150 per litre.

It was reported that some filling stations in Lagos and Ogun states had refrained from selling the product.

For instance, the Oando filling stations at Alapere and Berger as well as the Mobil filling station opposite the Magodo Estate gate did not dispense the product to members of the public since Friday.

Similarly, the Ascon and NNPC stations between Arepo and Magboro, off the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ogun State, did not sell the product on Sunday, raising fears of another round of fuel scarcity.

The General Secretary, NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, said on the telephone on Sunday that it would be insensitive on the part of the government to increase fuel price in view of the current hardship in the land.

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No Plan To Increase Petrol Price, NNPC Tells Nigerians Not To Panic

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Muhammad Garba-Deen, has said there was absolutely no plan by the Federal Government to increase pump price of petrol above N145 maximum level.

He said a statement people were referring to was made within the context of technical explanation, not within the context of downstream operations.

According to him, if there is going to be anything like a price hike, the agency responsible for fixing the price of petrol, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), will definitely sensitise Nigerians on it and give reasons for the hike.

He added that at present, there was no subsidy on petrol, and that the long-term contracts entered into by the NNPC with buyers and suppliers had addressed the issue of foreign exchange volatility.

“As per this moment, there is absolutely no plan to do that and no need to do that, because we have more than enough supply; we have very robust stock of product in our custody.

“ In addition to that, we also have long term procurement contract with our suppliers.

“The usual reason that would necessitate a review of price at the moment had been taken care of. We have long term procurement contract with our suppliers.

“We have more than enough supply to last us throughout the ember months and beyond,” he said.

Also, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, on Wednesday began investigation into some depot owners in Apapa who sold fuel to marketers above the official ex-depot price of N133.28.

Dorothy Bassey, Assistant Director, Public Affairs, DPR, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the agency would sanction depot owners found guilty.

According to Ms. Bassey, there is no reason for any depot to sell petrol above the official ex-depot price.

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45 Per Cent Increase In Electricity Tariffs Will Violate UN Ruling– SERAP

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has advised the Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola, to “ensure that regulatory authorities are not allowed to get away with 45 percent increase in electricity tariffs by promoting compliance with the November 2013 ruling on the matter by two UN special rapporteurs.”

This followed a nationwide protest on Monday by the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress against the increase in electricity tariffs, demanding an immediate reversal of the hike.

In a statement Tuesday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said, “Nigeria is an important member of the UN and have voluntarily accepted its Charter and treaties. Therefore, any effort to increase electricity tariffs should be guided by the recommendations by the UN and dialogue with organized labour and other stakeholders.”

The organization noted that “The United Nations published the Joint Letter of Concern sent to the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan in which they expressed concerns that “access to electricity (and regularity of supply) is a significant problem in Nigeria,” and raised eight questions for the government to answer within 60 days.”

The letter with reference No NGA 5/2013 and dated 26 November 2013, and signed by two special rapporteurs expressed concerns that “at the end of 2012, Nigeria with a population of about 160 million people only generated about 4,000 megawatts of electricity, which is ten times less than some other countries in the region with less population.”

The UN special rapporteurs argued that “all beneficiaries of the right to adequate housing should have sustainable access to energy for cooking, heating and lighting. The failure of States to provide basic services such as electricity is a violation of the right to health.”

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Nigeria’s Power Generation Will Increase By 2,000MW In 2016– Fashola

The minister of ?p?ower, ?w?orks and ?h?ousing, Babatunde Fashola, says the power generation will increase this year by 2,000 megawatts.

This is contained in a statement sent to ?the ?News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja by Etore Thomas, an assistant director in the ministry.

According to the statement, Mr. Fashola made the statement while defending the ministry’s budget before the Senate Committee on Power and Mines.

It added that a lot had changed in the management of power in the country in recent times.

The statement said ?the ?distribution of power was no longer ?the ?government?’s? business, but had been taken over by private companies.

It stated that government privatized power generation with transmission aspect being managed by Manitoba International of Canada at present.

According to the statement, the 2016 budget focuses more on the transmission, completion of on-going projects, refurbishing power plants and tackling gas supply issues.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Economic Council Meeting: FG Says No Plan To Increase Taxes

The federal government says it has no plans to increase company taxes or Value Added Tax in the country despite the dwindling oil revenue.

It, however, said that it would do all it can to ensure that Nigerians pay their taxes as and when due.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, said this while giving an update on the 2016 budget before the National Assembly.

This, according to him, was the outcome of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said that the budget is geared towards stimulating the economy and promoting inclusive growth and that the federal government would build an economy that is less vulnerable to oil price shocks by creating resistant divested income base and creating efficient public financial management system.

He said that government would partner states and local governments to recruit, train and deploy 500,000 unemployed graduates as teachers.

He added that the Vice President’s office was also working to design an implementable and transparent conditional cash transfer programme of 5,000 Naira monthly to one million poorest and most vulnerable..

During its briefing, the Economic Council said that the balance of the excess crude account as at December 31, 2015 stood at $2.257 billion.

Council said that it has also resolved the situation where revenue agencies collect monies in foreign currency but remit such accounts in Naira into the federation account.

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Gov. Ayade Rejects Proposal To Increase Taxes

The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has promised that his administration would not impose further taxes on the people of the state but would rather harness the natural resources that abound to better the lot of the people.

Governor Ayade made the promise at the government house in Calabar the state capital, in reaction to a presentation made to him by a consulting firm and a financial institution on how to increase the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by introducing new tax heads.

He said that his administration is poised towards reducing the hardship of the low income earners rather than make life difficult for them through tax levies.

Ayade lamented that the model presented by the investors, which according to them has worked in Lagos and Ogun states to boost their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), would rather add to the hardship being suffered by the people.

Speaking further, he said that he was not in support of taxing people in order to raise money, but believes in tasking his brain to generate income by taking advantage of the many natural resources that abound in the state.

He stated that he represents the people who voted for him and their interest comes first.

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Osun To Create Jobs, Increase Revenue Through Gaming Entertainment

The Osun State Government has given an assurance that it would continue to create an enabling environment for investors to thrive in the state.

The Acting Chairman of the Osun Internal Revenue Service, Dayo Oyebanji, stated this in Osogbo the Osun State capital, at a meeting where a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with a foreign gaming company.

He stated that the gaming initiative was not only to create employment for many youths, but to also boost the state’s revenue generation through entertainment.

He explained that creating an enabling environment for investors would in turn improve the economic base of government to help meet its statutory obligation of providing basic needs for its citizens.

Describing the initiative, which is a landmark for Osun State, he added that the project would also empower people to make money for themselves.

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FG Pushes For Electricity Tariff Increase

Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola,   said Nigerians should expect increase in electricity tariff in no distant time. This is as he also indicated the Ministry of Petroleum has signified their interest to build certain critical pipelines to transport gas to the power plants that will add another 2,000 mega watts to the national grid within 12-15 months.

According to him, “By far the most complex challenge is the problem of tariff. It is complex because it is more in the hands of citizens than in the hands of Government.

“The role of Government is to set the tariff and in doing so, Government has committed to what is called a Multi-Year Tariff Order. This was done in order to attract investors to the market; otherwise we will not have achieved the privatization if the price of the product is not attractive to the investors.

“The tariff is the price of producing power. It covers cost of generation, gas purchase, transportation, transformers, staff costs and so on, disaggregated and charged per kilowatt/hour to make the business of power profitable.

“What Government did was to spread it over a number of years so that the impact is not felt at once but over a periodic incremental process. I know that it has been a contentious matter, but I make this fervent appeal to consumers to give us the benefit of doubt, to forbear and accept it.

As regards transmission network, the Minister noted that the amount of power that is available today is slightly larger than the capacity which the transmission network can support. He said,  “We have identified a total of 142 (One Hundred and forty-two) projects of which  45 are at 50 percent level of completion  and about 22 (twenty-two) can be completed within a year.

“The budget estimates are known and we intend to aggressively pursue completion to increase the carrying capacity from the generating companies, GENCOs to the distribution companies, DISCOs.

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Senate Seeks Increase In Supplementary Budget

The Senate Committee on Appropriation is seeking an increase in the 465.5 billion Naira supplementary budget submitted to the upper chamber last week to 573.5 billion Naira.

The new figure includes an additional 108 billion Naira meant for fuel subsidy in the last quarter of 2015, which was not captured in the 465.5 billion Naira supplementary budget.

The decision, leading to the increased budget, followed the discovery by the Senate Committee on Appropriation that the subsidy captured in the budget was only for the period covering January to September.

The committee frowned at the development, stressing that leaving the subsidy for the period of October to December out of the budget would be counter-productive and would lead the nation to another round of fuel scarcity in no distant time.

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