FG Pledges To Boost, Revamp Cotton Production

 

 

The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to boosting cotton production in the country as necessary steps towards revamping the moribund textile industry.

This was disclosed during a farmers’ field day organised to showcase the performance of bg2 cotton hybrids over the traditional varieties.

According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, cotton production has been threatened by pests bollworms resulting in poor yield, but hands are on deck to ensure high yield which is a necessary ingredient to revamping the textile industry.

Cotton as a major cash crop was of social and economic importance to Nigeria. Its production in Nigeria dating back to 1903 with the British cotton growers association taking the leading until it was disbanded in 1974 and replaced by the cotton marketing board to develop, gin, and market the produce.

Before the discovery of petroleum, cotton has been one of the major foreign exchange earners in Nigeria until it dwindled due to seed quality and pest infestation leading to low yield among other reasons.

However, the Federal Government is not resting on its oars at ensuring that cotton production is revamped so that the textile industry is resuscitated.

Therefore the FG’s landmark approval for the cultivation of ag2 hybrid cotton aimed at reducing pesticide infestation rate and improving cotton yield in Nigeria is a welcome development.

FG Targets 10million Tons Of Rice Production By 2021

 

 

The Federal Government says it is targeting the production of ten million metric tons of rice in the country by the end of this year’s dry season farming.

The Federal Government has said that already a total of five million metric tons have been produced in the wet season, while five million metric tons will be produced during the dry season.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, this will be made possible through increasing the cultivation of the commodity to an expanse of one million hectares of land.

At the flag-off of 2020/2021 dry season, rice farming and distribution of inputs in niger state, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Niger state Governor Abubakar Bello are of the view that the country can be self-sufficient in rice production relying on the anchor borrowers’ programme of the apex bank.

Niger state is one of the leading states in rice production, with vast arable land.

At least three hundred and eighty thousand metric tons of rice are produced annually in the state, but even that is considered far lesser than its capacity, and it’s the reason the state government is now taking advantage of the dry season farming.

With the closure of Nigeria’s borders by President Muhammadu Buhari, rice importation has also been banned, thereby increasing the volume of local production of the commodity. But the policy has also led to a hike in the price of rice, a concern the rice farmers association of nigeria hopes to address through its triple ‘a’ agenda.

ASUU Did Not Reach Agreement With FG To Suspend Strike – Ogunyemi

Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – ASUU
A file photo of ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi.

 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), says the union has not reached any agreement yet with Federal Government to suspend its industrial action.

ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, who disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday, said there is nothing in the government’s offer on November 27 to suggest the end of the over eight-month strike.

“Therefore, the ASUU leadership did not reach any understanding with the government to suspend the strike on 9th December 2020 and there is nothing in the government offer of 27th November 2020 to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment,” the statement partly read.

“The leadership of ASUU has consistently stated at every meeting with high ranking government officials that the union’s representatives have no mandate to take a final decision on any strike action by the union.

“All the leadership does is to present government offers through its organs, and that we have done faithfully in the current situation.”

The union leadership’s stance on the prolonged strike followed media reports from the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige that ASUU had promised to suspend the strike on December 9.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

WHY THE STRIKE HAS NOT BEEN SUSPENDED

The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been inundated with enquiries on why the ongoing strike action has not been suspended. This was sequel to the widely reported claims by some government agents that all the demands of ASUU have been met and that the union agreed to suspend the strike action today, 9th December 2020. Nothing can be farther from the truth!

To put the records straight, the Principal Officers and Trustees who constitute the core of representatives of ASUU at negotiation meetings with the government are not constitutionally empowered to suspend any strike action. Whatever comes out of an engagement with agents of the government is an offer which must be taken back to the branches through the various organs of the union. Views and perspectives on offers by governments are aggregated and presented to government agents as counter-offers. This trade union strategy of offer and counter-offer is continually deployed until the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU – consisting of all recognised chairpersons – finally approves what it considers an acceptable offer from the government. It is only then that any strike action by ASUU can be suspended.

At our last meeting in the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment on 27th November 2020, the ASUU leadership promised to faithfully present the latest government offer to its members through the established tradition. The latest offer by the government makes proposals on nearly all items of demand by the union with timelines. Among others, the document which was signed by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, contains proposals on the inauguration of the reconstituted FGN-ASUU Renegotiation Committee (1st December 2020); release of details about Visitation Panels (1st December 2020); working on the actualisation of the release of the withheld salaries of ASUU members (Wednesday, 9th December 2020). Clause 9 on the document reads: “Based on these conclusions reached on items 1-8, ASUU’s leadership will consult its organs with a view to suspending the on-going strike” (Italics, for emphasis).

Therefore, the ASUU leadership did not reach any understanding with the government to suspend the strike on 9th December 2020 and there is nothing in the government offer of 27th November 2020 to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment. The leadership of ASUU has consistently stated at every meeting with high ranking government officials that the union’s representatives have no mandate to take the final decision on any strike action by the union. All the leadership does is to present government offers through its organs, and that we have done faithfully in the current situation.

ASUU recognises and appreciates the concerns of all Nigerians who have been calling for an early resolution of the ongoing crisis. It was a needless crisis in the first place. It happened because the government has consistently failed to faithfully implement the Agreements it freely signed with the union. ASUU members, as stakeholders in the Nigerian University System, are equally worried and embarrassed that those in the position of authority, over the years, displayed seeming indifference to the rot and decay in Nigeria’s public universities. We think it is not too late to do a rethink. We believe if there is the will, there will be a way.

ASUU acknowledges some more recent interventions aimed at resolving the crisis. While the union is willing to cooperate with concerned authorities on the matter, this would not be done to its own detriment. So, the strike would only be suspended when the union’s organs affirm that the welfare and wellbeing of ASUU members, as well as the survival of our public universities, are sufficiently guaranteed.

 

Biodun Ogunyemi

President

For and on behalf of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)

09th December, 2020

FG, Labour Leaders Agree To ₦5 Reduction In Fuel Price

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

The Federal Government has announced the reduction of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol from N168 to N163.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, after meeting with the organised labour which began around 9 pm on Monday and ended at 1:30 am on Tuesday.

According to the Minister, a technical committee has been set up to ensure price stability in the industry.

Ngige stated that the committee, which will report back to the larger house on January 25, will appraise the market forces and other things that would ensure stability in the industry.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, also maintained the position of the minister, saying that the agreement was reached by both sides.

The product presently dispenses at N168, following the decision of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company to increase the ex-depot price of petrol from N147.67 per litre to N155.17 per litre in November.

READ ALSO: FG, Labour Leaders Resume Talks Over Increased Petrol Price, Electricity Tariff

Meanwhile, there is no conclusion yet on the demand for a reversal of the electricity tariff and the Federal Government said talks were ongoing with the distribution companies.

For the sixth time since the current administration announced a hike in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff in November, members of the organized labour movement and the Federal Government’s team have been holding series of talks, to continue the discussions on the demand of the workers union.

Both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had called for a reversal of the recent hike, threatening to embark on a nationwide strike and protests, the reason why the government had to convene a meeting a month ago.

At the last meeting, the Federal Government explained that it needed one week to make further consultations.

Provide Enough Funds To Procure COVID-19 Vaccines, Senate Tells FG

Senate Chambers

 

The Senate has asked the Federal Government to provide enough funds to procure COVID-19 vaccines for Nigerians.

The request follows a point of order raised by the Chairman Senate committee on health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe.

The Senate on Thursday also resolved that its committee on health should meet with the Ministers of Health and Finance, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 as well as the NCDC and NAFDAC to discuss modalities to procure the vaccine.

In a similar vein, the Senate has declared as urgent, the need to deal with the outbreak of a strange ailment said to be Yellow Fever, ravaging Epeilo-Otukpa and Itabono-Owukpa communities in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State.

READ ALSO: 2023: Shekarau Reveals Region To Produce Nigeria’s Next President

Senator Abba Moro drew the attention of the Upper Chamber to the emerging medical issue after which the Senate on Wednesday resolved to:

Urge the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Arbovirus and Vector Research Centre (NAVRC) to investigate each case and respond to outbreaks;

Ask the Federal Ministry of Health to mobilize focal persons to the are to quickly complement the efforts of the Benue State Government to ascertain the nature of the ailment;

Implore the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to promptly take action to contain the disease and see to the treatment of victims and protect others from further contracting it;

Further compel the Nigeria Centre for Disease Contro (NCDC) and the Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), to synergize and support the people of Benue South Senatorial District and in particular, the Epeilo-Otukpa and Itabono-Owukpa communities to treat, prevent and or reduce the number of cases and deaths;

Also urge the Federal Ministry of Health to immediately activate and set up a multi-agency yellow fever Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in Benue South, should the result come out positive for yellow fever, to conduct mass vaccination and awareness campaigns in Benue South Senatorial District, being that yellow fever is a completely vaccine-preventable disease as a single shot of the yellow fever vaccine protects for a lifetime; and

Ask the Federal Government to approve a special grant to tackle the strange ailment in research and providing remedial solutions.

Strike: FG Inaugurates Renegotiation Team Over 2009 Agreement With ASUU, Others

File photo: Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu

 

As part of efforts to find a lasting solution to the lingering industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Federal Government has inaugurated a committee to renegotiate the agreements it had with university-based unions in 1999.

Inaugurating the team on Wednesday in Abuja, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, and the action of the Federal Government is as a result of controversies that have trailed the terms of the agreements by both parties.

Adamu explained that the Federal Government team is expected to take another look at the 2009 agreements reached with the university-based unions and work with each union towards making far-reaching recommendations that would reposition the Nigerian university system.

“The Federal Government team is expected to take another look at the 2009 agreements reached with the University-based unions and work with each union towards making far-reaching recommendations that would reposition the Nigerian university system,” he said.

“It has also become necessary and urgent that all hands must now be on deck to restore the confidence reposed in university education by students, parents, and the general public.”

The government’s team, which is categorised into substantive members, advisers, and observers, is led by Professor emeritus Munzali Jibril.

Other members of the team include Nihinola Akanbi, Professor Nimi Briggs, Architect Lawrence Ngbale, Professor Femi Odekunle, Senator Nkechi Nworgu, Professor Shehu Abdullahi and Senator Mamman Magoro.

Strike: Ngige Optimistic As ASUU, FG End Eight-Hour Talks In Abuja

The federal government and ASUU met on November 20, 2020.
FILE: The federal government and ASUU met on November 20, 2020, in Abuja.

 

The strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities may soon be called off after an eight-hour meeting between ASUU leaders and federal government representatives ended on an amicable note.

Briefing journalists after the eight-hour meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the dialogue was fruitful.

ASUU’s president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi agreed with the Minister’s remarks.

Ngige said the government has made a proposal which ASUU will take back to their executives.

The minister explained that several issues were discussed in the Friday meeting, including salary shortfall, the payment system for lecturers and revitalisation of universities.

He expressed optimism that all the issues will be resolved at their next meeting.

ASUU has been on strike since March over unmet demands by the federal government.

 

 

FG Offers N65bn To ASUU For Earned Allowances, Revitalisation Fund

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, presides over a meeting between government and ASUU representatives in Abuja on November 20, 2020.

 

The Federal Government has offered a cumulative sum of N65 billion to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to address earned academic allowances and revitalisation of universities.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the proposal on behalf of the government to the striking lecturers when they met on Friday in Abuja.

Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, he described the negotiation as fruitful as the government has decided to shift grounds on the lingering issues that have kept students out of the classroom for several months.

Ngige noted that in its bid to resolve the impasse with ASUU, the sum of N15 billion from the amount offered by the government would be for more funds to revitalise the universities.

He explained that the fund was in addition to the N20 billion paid earlier, making it a total of N35 billion committed as revitalisation fund by the government.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Law Students Sue ASUU Over Lingering Strike

The minister gave an update on the visitation panel to the universities, noting that the panel would be inaugurated next week.

He also spoke about the payment system, as the union had rejected the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) of the government.

Ngige noted that representatives of the government and ASUU met over the University Transparency Account System (UTAS) proposed by the union, but it was still work in progress.

He stated that the Ministry of Labour and Employment, as well as the Ministry of Education, would use the previous payment platform of the government before it introduced IPPIS to pay the withheld salaries of the lecturers under strict monitoring.

The ASUU president, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, who also addressed reporters, acknowledged that the government has made some new offers to the union and progress has been made.

He, however, said the union leaders would report to their organs and get back to the government on the position of their members.

FG, Varsity Lecturers Resume Negotiation Over ASUU Strike

The federal government and ASUU met on November 20, 2020.
The federal government and ASUU met on November 20, 2020, in Abuja.

 

The Federal Government has resumed negotiation with members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the lingering strike by the union.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, presided over the meeting which held on Friday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

In his opening remarks, the minister explained that the meeting should have reconvened before now but had to wait for inputs from all the ministries involved, as well as from President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It was not easy for us to get the necessary things, we just finished the last consultations two days ago,” he told the striking lecturers and others present at the meeting.

READ ALSO: FG Offers N65bn To ASUU For Earned Allowances, Revitalisation Fund

Ngige also appealed to the lecturers that the meeting should have a smooth and fruitful outcome that would lead to the reopening of schools.

On his part, the President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, stated that the issue of withheld salaries of members should be first item on the agenda of Friday’s discussion.

Following the remarks by the minister and the ASUU President, the meeting went into a technical session.

At the last meeting held in October, Ngige said the Federal Government would present its last position on the strike to the lecturers at the next (Friday’s) meeting.

Both the government and ASUU have failed to reach a compromise over issues bordering on the payment platform, as well as unpaid earned allowances for lecturers and funds for university revitalisation, among others.

FAAC Shares N604bn October 2020 Revenue To FG, States And LGs

 

The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total of N604.004 billion October 2020 federation account revenue to the Federal, States, and Local Government Councils and agencies.

This was announced after the physical meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for the month of October held at the Federal Ministry of Finance headquarters, Abuja.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday by FAAC’s Director of Information, Hassan Dodo, the meeting was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed.

“From this amount, inclusive cost of collection to NCS, DPR, and FIRS, the Federal Government received N220.751 billion, the States received N161.825 billion, the Local Government councils got N120.588 billion while the oil-producing states received N31.902 billion as derivation (13% of Mineral Revenue) and Cost of Collection/Transfer and Refunds got N48.939 billion,” the statement partly read.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

The FG, States and LGCs share N604.004 billion for the month of October 2020.

The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), today at its meeting chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Alh. Aliyu Ahmed shared to the three tiers of government, a total sum of N604.004 billion as federation allocation for the month of October 2020.

From this amount, inclusive cost of collection to NCS, DPR and FIRS, the Federal Government received N220.751 billion, the States received N161.825 billion, the Local Government councils got N120.588 billion while the oil producing states received N31.902 billion as derivation (13% of Mineral Revenue) and Cost of Collection/Transfer and Refunds got N48.939 billion.

The communique issued by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) at the end of the meeting, indicated that the Gross Revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) for October, 2020 was N126.463 billion as against  N141.858 billion distributed in the preceding month of September, 2020, resulting in a decrease of N15.395 billion. The distribution is as follows; Federal Government got N17.642 billion, the States received N58.805 billion, Local Government Councils got N41.167 billion, while Cost of Collection/Transfer and Refund got N5.059 billion and Allocation to NEDC project received N3.794 billion.

The distributed Statutory Revenue of  N378.148 billion received for the month was higher than the N341.501 billion received for the previous month by N36.647 billion, from which the Federal government received N166.195 billon, States got N84.296 billion, LGCs got N64.989 billion, Derivation (13% Mineral Revenue) got N21.581 billion and Cost of Collection/ Transfer and Refund got N40.086 billion.

The communique also revealed that Oil and Gas Royalty, Companies Income Tax (CIT) increased substantially. Import Duty, Excise Duty, Value Added Tax (VAT), and Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) according to the communiqué recorded decreases.

The communiqué further disclosed that the total revenue distributable for the current month was augmented with the sums of N72.000 billion, and N7.392 billion from Forex

Equalization and FGN Intervention respectively, including an augmentation of N20 billion from the Stabilization Account because of low revenue which is to be shared accordingly to the three tiers of government, bringing the total Distributable Revenue to N604.004 billion.

The balance in the Excess Crude Account as at 18th November 2020 stands at $72.409 million.

 

Hassan Dodo

D (Information)

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

International Flights: FG Lifts Ban On Lufthansa, Air France And KLM

File photo of an Airbus A-320 of the Lufthansa airline PHOTO: INA FASSBENDER / AFP

 

The Lufthansa, Air France/KLM have been given the approval by the Federal Government to resume operations into Nigeria.

This was announced by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in a tweet on Tuesday.

The Minister in the tweet also hinted at the possible reopening of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Port Harcourt International Airport, and Enugu Airport before the end of the year.

He added that Qatar Airways has been granted approval to resume flights to Abuja.

“We are working with Ministry of Health, CACOVID & The PTF to open Kano, Port Harcourt & possibly Enugu airports before the end of the year. Also Lufthansa, Air France/KLM have been given go-ahead to resume. Qatar Airways is approved to start Abuja. Thank you for your patience,” the Tweet read.

 

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had earlier in September restricted 10 airlines from operating in the country when international flight resumed.

At the time, Sirika said Air France and KLM airlines were not granted approval for flight operations because “tourist visa holders are not allowed entry” in the airlines’ originating countries.

FG Addressing Concerns Of Youths On Job Creation, Poverty Alleviation – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed speaks in Ilorin, Kwara State on November 6, 2020.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said the Federal Government is addressing the concerns of the Nigerian youths on job creation, poverty alleviation among others.

He disclosed this on Friday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, adding that the government’s commitment necessitated the creation of the National Youth Fund.

“Before the EndSARS protest, the Federal Government on its own has been addressing the concerns of youths, especially in the areas of job creation and poverty alleviation,” he said.

“This is why the Federal Government set up the National Youth Fund. The National Youth Fund is a N75billion fund which is meant to give opportunities to our younger elements to actualise their aspirations.

“This N75billion fund is part of the N2.3trillion Economic Sustainability Plan to cushion the effect of COVID-19.”

Speaking further, the Minister also listed other interventions of the Federal Government in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

One of these, he stated, is the setting up of the Micro Medium and Small Enterprises Survival Fund on owners of small businesses.