ASUU, Polytechnic Lecturers, Others To Get N34b Minimum Wage Adjustment Arrears – FG

 

The Federal Government has said it would spend about N34 billion on the ongoing payment of minimum wage consequential adjustments to education sector workers with effect from 2019.

According to a statement by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the beneficiaries include the members of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and their counterparts in the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed this while responding to questions from Labour correspondents in Abuja on the prolonged ASUU strike.

READ ALSO: ASUU Strike: FG Working On A Funding Structure For Public Universities – Nwajiuba

According to Ngige, the universities would get N23.5b, the polytechnics N6b and the Colleges of Education N4b, totaling about N34b.

Regarding the ASUU strike, the Minister said the committees set up during the last tripartite-plus meeting of the government and university-based unions were given a fortnight to turn in their report, and they were still working.

He added that the reports of the committees were being expected this weekend.

He said, “Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three platforms, the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) of ASUU, and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) of the non-teaching staff.

“They started the testing last Thursday. The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) has issued their amendment circulars. The unions also have copies to take care of responsibility and hazard allowances wherever it has not been properly captured.

Ngige assured Nigerians that there may likely be wage adjustments as the government intensifies efforts to streamline wages through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

“We have done that of the Police, for example. It wasn’t envisaged that we should do it in bits. But you can see that it has been done. You can also see university teachers saying that their own should be done immediately, since we have done police. So, something is being done. It was part of the 2009 negotiation they had with the government then. So, the committee of Prof. Briggs is on it, discussing with the university unions and their employer, the Federal Ministry of Education. They will bring up something for government to see.

“There are other people. The doctors are complaining about brain drain, this and that. Their hazard allowance has to be touched and it was touched by close to 300 percent. From N5,000 paid across board for each person, the least person in the health sector is getting N15,000 while the big ones are getting N45,000. That is a quantum leap.”

The minister appealed to ASUU and other university-based unions once more to suspend their strike so that academic activities could resume in public universities across the country.

Ngige Threatens To Replace Striking Resident Doctors

 

The Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, has threatened to replace striking resident doctors if they refuse to return to work by Monday.

According to Ngige who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, an employer has a right to replace an employee who abandons their duties, especially as it pertains to essential services.

“He will also withdraw your money and use it to pay those he has acquired during the period you were away,” he said.

“If you go to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) principles at work, it guarantees a worker the right to strike but it has consequences”.

The minister had earlier stated that he had invoked Section 43 of the Labour Act which states, in part, that for the period a worker withdraws his services, the government or his employers are not entitled to pay.

As essential workers, he also maintained that they are not expected to go on strike without notifying him at least 15 days prior.

Read Also: Healthcare In Nigeria Is ‘Fairly Okay’ – Ngige

While the doctors continue to call on the government to fully take up its responsibilities, the Federal Government has insisted that most of the issues they have raised are state affairs.

Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire had told journalists in Abuja on Thursday that seven of 12 matters that were raised by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), were the responsibility of state governments.

Consequently, he said they were expected to resume work on Friday and take up the issues with the state governments rather than embark on the nationwide strike as they had done.

The Labour Minister has, however, vowed to escalate the matter, should they fail to resume work by Monday, the expiration of the 1-week ultimatum he gave them.

“Next week, I will escalate it because the conciliation has failed and the law says that if conciliation fails on my own side, I can move it up.

“Avoiding the use of the word ‘sack’, Ngige said; there are other things that are permitted by law. I will invoke other things.

“Their employer has a right to replace them. It doesn’t matter what you want to term it. We can use Locum doctors or medical officers,” he said.

The strike, according to the aggrieved doctors is, however, expected to be indefinite.

Read Also: Why I Won’t Meet With Striking Resident Doctors – Labour Minister

Strike: ASUU, FG Resume Meeting Today

Strike: Hope For Varsity Students As FG, ASUU Reach Agreement
(File) Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, meets with ASUU leaders in Abuja on December 10, 2018.

 

The Federal Government is resuming negotiations with the leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), today, to resolve all issues that have made the strike to linger. 

At a similar meeting with ASUU leaders on the 7th of January, the minister of labour, Dr Chris Ngige announced the release of N15.4 billion by the federal government for the payment of salary shortfalls, which is one principal demand of the striking lecturers.

READ ALSO: I Will Be Education President: Moghalu Vows To End ASUU Strikes

Its been two weeks after that meeting was held, and the strike has continued even though the president of ASUU says the national executive committee of the association will review their decisions based on the new commitment by the federal government at their last meeting.

It is hoped that the resumed meeting will afford the striking lecturers brief the federal government about their new resolutions after considering the new commitments made by the government in their last meeting.

Ngige Visits Calabar Garment Factory, Expresses Satisfaction

NgigeNigerian Governors have been asked to replicate the style and zeal of the Cross River State Government by creating employment opportunities for its unemployed citizens.

The Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige made the call while in Calabar the State Capital, for an official engagement which saw him to the governor’s office, flagging off of the School -To-Work Scheme of the NDE as well as an inspection of the garment factory.

The Labour boss was amazed at the size and sophistication of the Calabar Garment Factory which is estimated to employ about 3,000 people.


The garment factory is situated along the Goodluck Jonathan bye-pass in Calabar Metropolis with the aim of boosting direct and indirect channels for diversification of the economy which is said to be the biggest in Africa.

The factory is expected be fully automated and will employ about 3’000 people, with 80 per cent of them being women.

The Labour boss commended on the Governor’s economic wizardry on his efforts, he said his ministry would partner the state government on the garment factory and also see that the factory was used as an apprenticeship centre for skills trainees.

Gov. Ayade further disclosed that, upon completion of the project, it will have a multiplier effect and impact tremendously on the state and citizenry.

Minister Decries Unfair Labour Practices In Banks

Chris Ngige, Labour Minister, NLC StrikeThe Ministry of Labour is to design a framework which would regulate contract staffing in banks and financial institutions in the country.

The Minister of LAbour, Dr Chris Ngige, who disclosed this plan at a meeting with bank executives in Abuja, said this has become necessary because of the abuse of contract staffing in banks across the country.

At the meeting, which was held to address the recent sacking of bank employees across the country, Dr Ngige condemned the “unfair labour practices by banks”.

He said over the years, banks in Nigeria have subjected their employees to shoddy working conditions, unregulated hours of work, refusal of staff to unionize as well as non-implementation of exit packages and forced resignation.

FG To Train 500, 000 Youths On Agriculture, Skill Acquisition

Chris Ngige, Labour Minister, NLC StrikeThe Federal Government on Sunday said it will be training 500, 000 youths on agriculture and skill acquisition in a bid to provide food security.

The Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige,  this is coming as the campaign for the diversification of the nigerian economy is getting stronger and as many believe that the nation is presently in a state of economic recession owing to a decline in crude oil exports.

Corroborating this statement, the President, Fisheries Society of Nigeria, Dr Olajide Ayinla, announced that the society is partnering with the government to improve the sector by inserting fishery into the school curriculum to enhance the knowledge among young people and create jobs.

Experts say Nigeria spends about $11 billion on the importation of wheat, rice, sugar and fish alone, based on this, the fishery society is collaborating with the government to encourage more local production.

PENGASSAN, NUPENG Suspend Strike

NUPENG, Rivers StateThe Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have suspended their strike after a meeting with the Federal Government on Wednesday.

The meeting which ended at 1am was attended by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, the oil unions and international companies.

They discussed issues on job security, causalisation of workers and improved welfare.

Dr Ngige appealed to the companies not to lay off workers as government is trying to make the environment more conducive for their businesses.

There had been disputes over the implementation of the 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the federal government and the unions, the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the state under which the oil workers operate, especially the lack of power and bad roads.

The PENGASSAN had last week declared an industrial action over the dispute, while NUPENG postponed its action pending the outcome of this meeting.

 

PENGASSAN Strike Continues As Discussions Hold With Ministers

Oil Workers, PENGASSAN, NUPENGThe President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria – PENGASSAN, Mr Francis Johnson says the union’s ongoing strike continues until all issues raised before the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and that of Labour are fully addressed.

Mr Johnson told journalists after a closed-door meeting at the NNPC headquarters in Abuja that the decision on whether or not to suspend the strike would be made by the national executive council of the union.

Although the key issue of redundancy in the sector is yet to be addressed at a separate meeting Tuesday with the Minister of Labour and international oil companies, presidents of both PENGASSAN and NUPENG say discussions so far have been satisfactory.

The dialogue which held at the NNPC headquarters had in attendance the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, and leaders of PENGASSAN and NUPENG.

One of the issues discussed is the implementation of the 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the federal government and the unions.

Also tabled for discussion were the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the state under which the oil workers operate, especially with regard to lack of power and bad roads.

Before the meeting went into closed-door, Dr. Kachikwu gave the assurance that the meeting would resolve the issues amicably.

The PENGASSAN had last week declared an industrial action over the dispute, while NUPENG postponed its action pending the outcome of this meeting.

Nigerian Ministers Meet Broadcasters, Blame Economic Challenges On Corruption

BON, CorruptionThe Federal Government has blamed the poor state of the economy on corruption and the falling price of crude oil.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, expressed the view while speaking at a meeting with members of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

As the administration marks its first year in office, five federal ministers held a meeting with members of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria.

The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah were part of the ministerial delegation.

Media executives listened to the ministers as they took time to explain their achievements and challenges over the past one year. The most challenging for the new administration has been the economy.

The Information Minister said that Nigeria was passing through a very a difficult time and that the road to economic prosperity would be rough. He said that if the present administration had not been elected, the country’s economy would have collapsed.

“Our economy, or whatever is left of it after years of serial mismanagement and massive corruption is in a very bad state. Throw into the mix, the huge fall in oil price and you have nothing but a disaster of an economy.

“But this government is aware that it was not elected to make excuses but to put the nation back to work,” he said.

The ministers promised that the administration would focus on tackling insecurity and fighting corruption as these are the major ways of revamping the economy.

They, however, noted that there was a backlog of issues to be sorted out, like the huge debt owed contractors, which the Power Minister explained.

“We must not allow yesterday’s misfortunes to recur again. It starts from the gradual process of failing to do simple maintenance; failing to paint or failing to clean.

“The impact of what we see today clearly didn’t start today. So if we have paid contractors, we clearly won’t have the kinds of roads that we have today.

“My meeting with contractors in Power and in Works over the last 10 days, the common thread is that they haven’t received payment for an average of three years.”

Nevertheless, the minsters reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to embarking on infrastructural development across the country.

The ministers also gave the assurance that the government would fulfil its election campaign promises to Nigerians.

Nigeria Workers Celebrate Safety At Workplace

Nigeria workersNigeria workers have joined the rest of the world to mark the 2016 World Day for Safety and Health at Workplace with the International Labour Organization (ILO) calling on the federal government to improve the safety of workers.

For 13 years, Nigerian workers have continued to celebrate the World Day for Safety and Health at Work Place and the theme for 2016 was “Workplace Stress; A Collective Challenge”

The country representative of the ILO in Nigeria, Mr Dennis Zulu, at an event to mark the day on Thursday, said that the domestication of the ILO’s convention 155 on occupational safety would reduce accidents in work place.

Representative of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ms Maureen Ekuazi, argued that lack of social infrastructure has added to the stress of Nigerian workers.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, gave the assurance of government’s commitment to ensure the safety of workers.

He called on employers of labour to implement stress prevention programmes in line with national safety policies.

Although there is no reliable data on occupational accidents and deaths in Nigeria, it is estimated that globally, over 270 million accidents and 160 million deaths occur in workplaces annually.

This figure is inclusive of the few reported cases in Nigeria.

Ministers Visit Late James Ocholi’s Residence

OcholiMinisters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Wednesday paid a condolence visit to the family of their late colleague, Mr James Ocholi, at his Abuja residence, after the Federal Executive Council meeting.

The delegation, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, assured the children that the Presidency would support the family of the late Mr Ocholi.

Also at the residence to sympathise with the family was a notable politician in Kogi State, James Faleke, who said that the late minister’s death was a great loss to Nigeria, especially to Kogi State.

Friends of the deceased described him as an upright and brave man who made a great impact within a short period of time.

The visit came after the Federal Government announced automatic employment at the Federal Ministry of Justice for Aaron, the eldest son of the late Minister.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, revealed this to the Ocholi family when he paid them a visit to convey his and President Muhammadu Buhari’s condolence message.

He also told the family that Aaron’s other siblings would enjoy scholarships for their educational pursuits, courtesy of the Federal Government which had pledged to cushion the effect of the loss of their parents.

FG Employs Ocholi’s Son, Gives Others Scholarship

OcholiAs part of efforts to support the children left behind by the late Minister of State for Labour, Mr James Ocholi (SAN), the Federal Government has announced automatic employment at the Federal Ministry of Justice for Aaron, his eldest son.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, revealed this to the Ocholi family when he paid a visit to his Kado Estate residence at about 3:00pm on Tuesday, to convey his and President Muhammadu Buhari’s condolence message.

He also disclosed that Aaron’s other siblings would enjoy scholarships for their educational pursuits, courtesy of the Federal Government who has pledged to cushion the effect of the loss of their parents.

The Minister added that the Senior Advocate was a very critical part of the change effort of the Federal Government.

He said that President Buhari personally mandated him to inform the family of the late Minister that his administration would do all within its power to ensure he is not missed.

Mr Malami consoled them that death was a necessary end that was bound to happen, adding that God in his infinite mercy had a reason for allowing them to depart the way they did.

“I am here to convey Mr President’s condolence message and he has asked me to personally inform you that you have been given automatic employment in the Federal Ministry of Justice. The employment letter is in process and you can resume work after now”, he told Ocholi’s eldest son.

“Your father was a very hardworking and conscientious member of the Federal Executive Council who was very passionate and worked hard for the realisation of the change agenda of this government.

“Indeed, it is a sad moment for all of us and the vacuum which his death has created is not only for the family, but the leadership as well. He was a great pillar in the struggle which brought this administration to power. He played a major role in the merger process,” the AGF said.

Mr Malami also recalled that as far back as the days of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Ocholi was one of those who stood strong behind President Buhari and was one of those who took part in the judicial struggle afterward in an effort to claim the presidential mandate at the election tribunal up to the Supreme Court at that time.

He prayed that his departed soul rests in peace.

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment died in a road accident along the Kaduna-Abuja highway on Sunday, March 6, along with his wife and son.

The deceased and his family were returning from a private visit in Kaduna.