Ngige, Labour Trade Blames Over NSITF Board Inauguration

The faceoff between the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Federal Government continued on Tuesday with a blame game over the inauguration of a new board for the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

While the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, spoke on behalf of the Federal Government, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba represented the labour union.

Both appeared as guests on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, a day after Ngige swore in a new board for the Fund following a two-year delay.

Prior to the inauguration, NLC members last week protested against the Minister for his alleged failure to inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund with Frank Kokori as the chairman.

Wabba criticised the Minister for the delay in the constitution of the board, blaming the action on an alleged lack of communication between the Federal Government and the labour.

READ ALSO: Ngige Inaugurates New NSITF Board After Two-Year Delay

He, however, insisted that Kokori was not recommended by the labour, insisting that his appointment was based on a recommendation from the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) being a member.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba                                               Labour Minister, Chris Ngige

“We are social partners in this particular issue. It’s a labour market institution. We shouldn’t wait until the 11th hour. Labour should have been informed. Even him Kokori should have been informed.

“Even up to now, there is no formal communication to him. After the Minister invited him to his house and had dinner to say you have been appointed, there is no formal communication to labour.

“The issue of Kokori’s appointment was not the issue mainly, it was inaugurating the board. So clearly speaking, there is a breakdown in communication. That communication which was made public to Nigerians only came at the eve of the inauguration two days ago,” he stated.

But reacting to the allegation, the Minister accused the NLC President of being economical with the truth.

According to Ngige, Wabba came to his office claiming that the Vice President had instructed the NLC to bring a nomination.

“I did not recommend Mr Kokori for an appointment. The NLC President is being economical with the truth. I told them that this name you people have inserted is an invalid nomination.

“It was on that basis that I asked Mr Kokori to give me his Curriculum Vita (CV). As a matter of fact, this NLC President came to my office and lied to me that the Vice President asked them to bring a nomination.

“And I told him, it cannot stand. You know what the Act says. Based on that, I wrote to the Vice President pointing out that I should nominate. As at two weeks ago, the Vice President said he didn’t see them,” he said.

‘My Family Members Are Traumatised,’ Ngige Laments Picketing Of His House By NLC

 

Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has narrated his experience and how picketing of his residence by members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) affected his family.

The Minister revealed this in an interview with journalists at the presidential villa in Abuja, on Thursday.

Ngige said the ‘blockage’ of the entrance of his Asokoro residence by the protesting labour members is an unlawful action because all occupants of his compound including his neighbours were hindered from going about their daily normal activities.

READ ALSO: Service Chiefs Brief Buhari On Kidnappings, Other Crimes

“In my own home, my wife, some of my children, the children of my staff members, my cooks and my stewards were all trapped. My neighbour also couldn’t go to work. That is obstruction. It is against the law of the land.

“Putting a tanker with petrol… that is arson. The entire street could have been engulfed with fire.

“I was speechless. I am very distraught, my family is traumatised. All of the people in my compound are traumatised. Some of the cooks and policemen who have families, aides who have families in that compound are traumatised.

“Even my neighbour couldn’t go about their business. It is quite unfortunate,” he lamented.

Narrating his experience further, the Minister claimed that the protesters were at the entrance of his house as early as 4:30 am with petrol tankers.

He said further that the protesters were led by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba.

“I was woken up at 5:00 am by my wife who reported to me that my security men were having problems with some strange fellows at the gate of the house and that some people were also on the walls of my house and that the people arrived there by 4:30 am.

“When the security accosted them, they discovered that it was the NLC President himself that came physically.

“They came with two tankers. One laden with petrol and the other one was half empty. They put one at the gate of my house and the second one at the gate of the other house which happens to be that of my neighbour.

“It was very strange. I looked from upstairs and saw that the tankers were actually blocking the entrance to my house.

“They (his security men) even had a scuffle with the President of NLC when they were struggling for the key of the tanker.”

Ngige, however, condemned the action of the protesters, saying, “Picketing does not mean you go to people’s private residence because you don’t know who the occupants are.

“That is not Trade Unionism, it is hooligalism. In Trade Unionism, you dialogue.”

The Minister said his neighbours have vowed to take legal actions and added that ‘the obstruction’ is an illegal action punishable by the law.

Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress on Wednesday protested at the Asokoro residence of Ngige over his failure to inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund with Frank Kokori as the chairman.

Ngige, Faduyile Disagree On Brain Drain, Migration Of Nigerian Doctors

 

Doctor Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment and the President of the Nigerian Medical Association are not on the same wavelength regarding the critical issue of brain drain and migration of Nigerian doctors. 

Ngige in an interview on Wednesday said contrary to the impression that the country is losing, the movement of the doctors abroad is actually attracting investment into the country.

Doctor Ngige who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast program, Sunrise Daily, said the mass exodus of doctors from Nigeria is not a thing so much a thing to lose sleep about, in that the nation has medical practitioners in excess.

READ ALSO: We Need More Doctors, We Don’t Have Enough – Nigerians Reply Chris Ngige

“I’m Not Worried, We Have Surplus (Doctors), if we have a surplus, we export. I was taught Biology and Chemistry by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.

“They are surplus in their country. We have a surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. It is my area, we have excess. We have enough, more than enough, quote me,” Ngige said.

However, the President of the Nigeria Medical Association, Doctor Francis Faduyile disagrees with the position of the labour minister.

Doctor Faduyile notes emphatically that the country’s doctor to patient ratio is grossly poor, citing poor welfare and infrastructure deficit as some of the reasons for medical brain drain.

We Need More Doctors, We Don’t Have Enough – Nigerians Reply Chris Ngige

 

 

Reaction have trailed comments by The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige,  suggesting that the mass exodus of doctors from Nigeria is not a thing to lose sleep about. 

Chris Ngige had on Wednesday, said that he is not bothered about the decision of medical doctors who choose to leave Nigeria to practice outside the country.

While featuring as a guest Channels TV Sunrise Daily, Ngige said the practice is not alien to Nigeria, because he was taught by Indians in secondary school.

“I’m Not Worried, We Have Surplus (Doctors), if we have a surplus, we export. I was taught Biology and Chemistry by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.

“They are surplus in their country. We have a surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. It is my area, we have excess. We have enough, more than enough, quote me.”

Nigerians in reaction to the minister’s comments have taken to social media to air their views on the subject matter, with many holding views at variance with Ngige’s claim that the nation has a surplus of medical doctors.

Below are what Nigerians are saying with respect to Ngige’s claim.

READ ALSO: FG Vows To Improve Primary Health Care Delivery In Nigeria

VIDEO: Doctors Are Free To Leave Nigeria Because We Have Surplus, I’m Not Worried – Ngige

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige has said that he is not bothered about the decision of medical doctors who choose to leave Nigeria to practice outside the country.

Ngige who was a guest on Channels TV Sunrise Daily said the practice is not alien to Nigeria, because he was taught by Indians in secondary school.

“I’m Not Worried, We Have Surplus (Doctors), if we have a surplus, we export. I was taught Biology and Chemistry by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.

“They are surplus in their country. We have a surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. It is my area, we have excess. We have enough, more than enough, quote me.”

Ngige, when asked if nothing was wrong, owing to his position as a qualified medical doctor, said there was nothing wrong in their choice to practise overseas, at the detriment of Nigeria’s health sector.

“There is nothing wrong, they go out to sharpen their skills, earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them, not from oil.”

READ ALSO: Dogara Slams Tinubu, Lists 8th National Assembly’s Achievements

The minister said the move does not amount to brain drain when asked.

“Those guys go there, they are better trained because of the facilities they have there. Eventually, I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government hospitals cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss.

“Brain drain will only be inimical when for instance neurosurgeons travel and we don’t have neurosurgeons here.”

ASUU: FG Commences Meeting With Striking Lecturers

 

 

The Federal Government has commenced the meeting with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the lingering strike.

Chris Ngige, the minister of Labour and Employment,  is in attendance along with the striking lecturers.

The Minister says he is worried over the delay in suspending the strike after the last meeting where some funds were released by the Federal Government to pay salaries shortfalls.

But the President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi said that they want the Federal government to get it right this time around, especially issues revolving around University revitalization in order to ensure that graduates from Nigeria Universities can be proud of their certificates.

READ ALSO: ASUU Strike Continues As Union Leaders Walk Out Of Meeting With FG

ASUU began the nationwide strike in November after a meeting of its national leadership at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, the Ondo State capital.

The industrial action was to protest the poor funding of Nigerian Universities and the alleged plot to increase students’ fees in some institutions.

Among other issues raised by the union include the introduction of an education bank and the non-implementation of previous agreements.

The meeting is now in a technical session.

Minimum Wage Is Work In Progress, Says Ngige

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, discussions are still ongoing for a new minimum wage for the country.

“The issue of the minimum wage is a work in progress”, he told journalists at the State House in Abuja on Thursday, after the National Executive Council meeting.

He explained that it is after the ongoing deliberations on the minimum wage  that a bill will be sent to the National Executive Council and subsequently referred to the National Council of State.

He said, “We are taking our deliberations to the National Executive Council and then we will close up on the 22nd of January at the National Council of State after which we will be able to say where we are going concerning the figures and frequency those that have exemptions.

“By then we will be ready to transmit to the National Assembly on or before 23rd of January.”

READ ALSO:  FG Fixes Jan 23 For Transmission Of Minimum Wage Bill To NASS

The Federal Government through the Labour Minister had in a meeting with the leadership of the NLC last week Tuesday resolved that the executive bill on minimum wage should be forwarded by January 23 to the National Assembly to prevent the planned strike.

The NLC had threatened to shut down the economy on January 28, and also vote against any candidate in the forthcoming elections that refuses to implement the proposed minimum wage of N30,000.

FG Fixes Jan 23 For Transmission Of Minimum Wage Bill To NASS

File Photo: Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige

 

The Federal Government has fixed January 23, 2019, to transmit the new Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly with a view to fast-tracking the implementation of a new wage structure for Nigerian workers.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, confirmed this to journalists on Tuesday after a meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and its allies in Abuja.

He assured the labour leaders that the government will be presenting the recommendations of the tripartite committee to the States Security Council in the coming weeks.

According to him, the whole process that precedes the transmission of the bill to the National Assembly will be completed before January 23.

On his part, the President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, stressed the importance of keeping to the timeline to avoid further disagreements between labour and the government.

Minimum Wage: FG Rejects N22,500 Governors’ Proposal

ICYMI: Why Nigerian Workers 'Should Be Clapping' For Us – FG

 

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Chris Ngige, says the Federal Government has rejected the N22,500 minimum wage proposal by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).

Ngige stated this on Wednesday during a phone interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“The governors have not even done enough. I told them that this N22,500 is even rejected by the Federal Government,” he said.

Ngige’s comments come 24 hours after NGF unanimously agreed to pay Nigerian workers N22,500 as the new minimum wage as against the current N18,000.

Chairman of the Forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari, said that the decision of the governors was based on the current realities on the ground.

But Ngige criticised the governors for the figure saying N22,500 is even below the N24, 000 agreement by the Federal Government.

He, however, said that all parties on the ground would resume back on negotiations to see that the welfare of the workers is met.

Ngige added, “The national minimum wage is a national legislation being driven by the Federal Government of Nigeria in pursuance to item 34 of the Exclusive Legislative list.

“But you don’t go and make a law which people will disobey at the initial.

“If you make a law and hoax a figure that is not agreeable, which people don’t have the capacity or ability to pay because the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says in those negotiations, the principle is the ability to pay.”

The minister, however, decried that the Chairman of the Tripartite Committee, Ms. Amal Pepple is not in the country.

Ngige explained that despite her absence for two weeks for a medical check-up, the Federal Government would convene partners involved in the minimum wage to deliberate on the issue and arrive on the same page.

Although workers are demanding N30,000 as minimum wage, the minister said that any industrial action being embarked on the aggrieved workers would not resolve the issues at stake.

ICYMI: Why Nigerian Workers ‘Should Be Clapping’ For Us – FG

ICYMI: Why Nigerian Workers 'Should Be Clapping' For Us – FG

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, believes the Federal Government deserves to be applauded by the Nigerian workers.

According to him, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has been able to manage the welfare of workers in the country better than other administrations.

“Many people will not remember very quickly,” the minister said in an interview with Channels Television on the last edition of Roadmap 2019.

He explained further, “In the military government, at a time, there was an embargo on employment; even embargo on promotions. When people go, the vacancies are there and the monies are returned to the coffers of the government.”

“We are not doing so and I thought Nigerian workers should be clapping for us for that. We are promoting them (workers) as we speak; we are replacing those who have left,” Ngige added.

“In fact, when people leave on high grades, we do what is called suppression and get more (people) on the lower grades. The Presidency doesn’t want anybody to be laid off; this President.”

According to the minister, President Muhammadu Buhari is very concerned about the welfare of workers because he was part of them, as a soldier.

“No embargo on employment,” he insisted, stressing that government was recruiting more workers and replacing those who left for one reason or the other.

According to him, the Buhari administration has recruited 30,000 policemen and thousands of workers into various parastatals of the government.

Senator Ngige added that the government came up with various interventions such as the National Social Investment Programme, to improve the standard of living of the people.

He also pointed out the N-Power scheme for 500,000 young Nigerians whom he said were receiving N30,000 monthly and N5,000 for equipment.

He said traders were not left out of the benefits from the government as they enjoy small-scale empowerment under the interest-free loan scheme among others.

On the issue of minimum wage, the minister said, “It’s in the exclusive list; exclusive legislative list.”

“It is the Federal Government that will legislate on it. I am hopeful that we can do something that we can call National Minimum Wage Act, 2018,” Ngige said.

Minimum Wage: ‘Nigeria Still A Third World Country’, Ngige Reacts To US Comparison

Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr Chris Ngige.

 

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr Chris Ngige, says Nigeria is still a third world country and should not be compared with the economies of the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Ngige said this on Friday, during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today, in reaction to the lingering controversy around the national minimum wage.

Labour leaders are demanding an increment from the current minimum wage of N18,000 and some have argued that the minimum wage in countries like the US, UK and Canada are $1232, $1633 and $2582 respectively.

But the minister maintained that those countries are developed and should not be compared to Nigeria.

Read Also: FG, Labour Disagree Over New Minimum Wage

He said, “UK, Canada, US are called developed economies. We are still a third-world country. Why are you generalising everything?”

“You don’t have to generalise (because) not everything is purchased in Dollar. It is a very dangerous analysis to do.

“The cardinal principle in the wage-fixing mechanism is the ability to pay. And the Nigerian economy is in dire strait and the current expenditure is ballooning all the time.”

He further stated that the Federal Government is working to balance the capital and recurrent expenditure by 35 per cent.

Speaking about the ‘no work no pay’ policy, the minister said it wasn’t established by the current administration and it dates to 2004.

Minimum Wage: Labour Faults FG, Insists Tripartite Committee Concluded Its Work

 

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has faulted the claims of the Federal Government that it had not reached an agreement on the national minimum wage with the labour leaders.

In a statement on Wednesday, jointly signed by the union leaders, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, Comrade Bala Bobboi Kaigama and Comrade Joe Ajaero, they insisted that the tripartite committee had concluded its work, contrary to the claims of the Federal Government.

The labour leaders also stated that that the committee had adopted a figure through a formal motion moved, seconded and adopted in the absence of any counter motion.

“Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige claiming that no amount has been agreed by the Tripartite Committee as recommendation to government.

“The report further claimed that the Minister said that government was still negotiating with Labour.

“It is rather unfortunate and sad if, indeed, the Honourable Minister made those statements.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Organised Labour representatives wish to state unequivocally that the Tripartite Committee concluded its work, adopted a figure through a formal motion moved, seconded and adopted in the absence of any counter motion.

“This was after a thorough debate of a report from the sub-committee figure, chaired by Senator Ngige himself, which presented four scenarios for consideration,” the statement read in part.

The labour leaders further explained that the “sub-committee worked on the basis of a figure proposed by the Federal Government, figures proposed by a number of state governments as well as proposals submitted by the Organised Private Sector and Organised Labour”.

Read Also: No Agreement Yet On New Minimum Wage – FG

Also, according to them, the committee formally adjourned its sitting with a decision that a date will be communicated to members for the signing of the report and submission of same to President Buhari.

The labour leaders said they were displeased with what they described as an attempt to delay the processes needed to promulgate a new National Minimum Wage.

They, therefore, called on the government to take immediate necessary steps to ensure the enactment of a new National Minimum Wage, adding that if immediate action is not taken, they “cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony”.