States Have Capacity To Sustain Proposed Wage Increment – NLC

Onyeka Chris of NLC on Wage IncrementThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is insisting that the states have the capacity to sustain the proposed wage increment of 65,000 Naira despite the drop in their allocation occasioned by the drop in the price of crude.

In an exclusive interview, the Acting General Secretary of the NLC, Onyeka Chris, told Channels Television that the monies the states get could sustain the wages.

“All the states have to do is to look at their Internally Generated Revenue, be more responsible and prudent in what they spend their money on and the way they spend money.

“That is all they have to do in sincerity.

“When they tell you about the size of their overhead you ask yourself, ‘what is the content of this overhead’? When you deconstruct the overhead, you find out that the component that actually goes to genuine workers salary is so small,” he emphasised.

The NLC official cited Edo State government that had increased the workers’ salary from the current minimum wage of 18,000 Naira to 25,000 Naira, insisting that it was possible for other states to implement same.

According to him, though the same wage could not be the sustained in different states, the minimum that the states should pay was what they were requesting for, considering the economic situation.

He pointed out that states that struggle to pay their minimum wage were having challenges because they were not prudent enough.

On the parity in minimum wage, he stressed that the only way there could be disparity was for the Constitution to be amended.

Mr Onyeka said that the minimum wage review was long overdue.

“The wage floor is renegotiated after every five years. It is overdue for renegotiation.

“We know that things have really changed in Nigeria. Inflation has gone up drastically, exchange rate has bottomed out and living condition has become worse in the last five years.

“The price of food stuffs has gone up at different percentages. Things that Nigerian workers spend their meagre income on have gone up.

“You don’t have to go too far to know that it is justified and moral.

“We are asking for 90,000 Naira monthly because we know that the prices of things have really gone far ahead.

“How much do you pay for a litre of petrol? When was the last time you had six hours of electricity in your house? This means you have to run your generator

“How much do you spend to buy a litre of fuel? It has gone up from 86.50 Naira to 150 Naira or even 200 Naira depending on where you are buying from,” he stated, defending the request of the labour unions.

On the efforts that the labour unions have made to ensure that the Naira was strengthened, he stated that the labour had been involved in every aspect of the Nigerian economy.

“We have always asked for a responsible and prudent management of the economy.

“The labour movement is on the fore in asking that petroleum products be refined in Nigeria so that we will stop importing. We know that the singular efforts in refining crude in Nigeria will remove pressure on the Naira.

This he said would remove the problems that the Naira was facing.


Niger State Sets Up Committee To Boost Economy

Niger State-Abubakar BelloDisturbed by the dwindling financial resources, Niger State government has set up a committee on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to boost its revenue base.

Governor Abubakar Bello on Wednesday, inaugurated the 22-member committee headed by the Vice Chancellor of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University in Lapai, Professor Nasiru Maiturare, during the weekly State Executive Council Meeting at the Government House in Minna.

He explained that the committee was also saddled with the responsibility of reviewing the activities of the Niger State Revenue Board and proffering solution that will focus on strengthening it.

Governor Bello tasked the committee to come up with policies and identify issues related to the current procedures in the state internal revenue collection.

“It is no longer news to us that all the states in Nigeria and Federal Government can longer meet the financial obligation due to fall in crude oil, the fall does not mean we cannot live our lives.

“We have all opportunity in the state to live a comfortable life and work hard to improve our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR),” he said.

The Governor stressed that Niger State had the potentials and the capacities to generate at least three billion Naira instead of 400 million Naira, comparing the State with Kaduna State that generates two billion Naira.

He lamented that the state had ignored many leakages in the past and did not save for the rainy days and stressed that they had to borrow to augment and to pay three months salaries.

“That is not a way forward, because it will come to a stage that no one will want to borrow us money again,” he said.

In his remarks, Professor Maiturare said that the committee would make use of the opportunity to harness potentials that would make the state financially sustainable.

Governor Bello also set up a Committee on Sunti Golden Sugar Company, to liaise and establish a cordial relationship between the company and the host communities and ensure agreed compliance for peaceful coexistence.

The committees have been given six weeks to submit their reports and recommendations.

Governor Gaidam Assents To 2016 Budget

gaidam_NewYobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, on Thursday assented to the 2016 appropriation and finance bills.

The state government has for the year 2016 set aside 88.9 billion Naira in the appropriation and finance bills tagged “Result based Budget for Consolidation, Reconstruction and Self-Reliance”.

The figure represents an increase of over 8.93 billion Naira or 10 per cent above that of the year 2014.

Assenting to the budget, Governor Gaidam said 48 per cent of the budget is earmarked for capital expenditure, while the capital expenditure stood at 52 per cent.

Despite the dwindling resources, the Governor expressed hope that with commitment to Internally Generated Revenue, coupled with significant improvement in security situation, his administration will implement the budget effectively, despite the dwindling resources.

He charged Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to “uphold the principles of probity, accountability and transparency, as well as to prepare their budget implementation work plans in accordance with the approved guidelines and submit same to the Ministry of Budget and Planning”.

While appealing to government establishments to ensure due process in the performance of government functions, Governor Gaidam called on them to always imbibe the culture of financial discipline.

He also called on people of the state to accord government the needed support in its transformation agenda.

The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Adamu Dogo, said the state assembly during work on the budget, made amend on the recurrent and capital expenditure to serve with current economic realities.

Gov. Ayade Rejects Proposal To Increase Taxes

AyadeThe 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.

Ajimobi Presents N165bn Budget Estimates

governor ajimobiThe Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has presented a 165 billion Naira budget proposal for the 2016 fiscal year before the State House of Assembly, with an economic re-engineering plan to shore up the revenues accruable to the state.

The Governor, while making the presentation of the budget tagged ‘Budget of Renewed Commitment’ on the floor of the Assembly on Wednesday, said that the proposal was guided by his administration’s desire to implement a four-cardinal programme in 2016.

According to him, the 2016 fiscal year also aims at solidifying the on-going process of physical and social infrastructural development in the state.

While the sum of 2.37 billion Naira, representing 35.88 per cent, was allocated to recurrent expenditure, the capital expenditure would gulp 72.73 billion Naira, representing 44.10 per cent of the budget.

The sectoral allocation consists of economy 39.90 billion Naira representing 54.85 per cent; social services 13.60 billion Naira, 18.63 per cent; urban regional development 8.10 billion Naira, 11.17 per cent and general administration 11.20 billion Naira, 15.85 per cent.

Governor Ajimobi said that his administration would employ carefully designed expenditure switching and expedite reduction strategies from the 2016 fiscal year, stressing that this would enable it identify and focus more on the people’s needs rather than their wants.

The Governor, however, highlighted the four cardinal programmes to include agriculture for food security, employment generation and poverty alleviation; education and human capital development; infrastructural development as well as peace and security.

He disclosed that the performance of the 2015 budget was badly affected by the sharp drop in the price of crude in the international market resulting in consistently dwindling national revenue as reflected in the substantial reduction in statutory allocation from the Federation Account.

The Governor further said that intelligence and policy reports had indicated that there might be greater oil glut in 2016 with its dire consequences on the movements in the price of crude oil in the international market.

He said that the state had no choice but to be inward-looking and less-dependent on net-based revenue for its fiscal operations, adding “we must change our ways of doing business”.

According to him, this has necessitated the restructuring and repositioning of the State Board of Internal Revenue Service and other income-generating agencies and that the ministries, departments and agencies must be cost-effective in their operations and efficient in their service delivery.

He said that the development was expected to increase the Internally Generated Revenue by about 400 per cent, that is, from its present 1.2 billion Naira to about 5 billion Naira per month in 2016.

Governor Ajimobi also said that the expenditure switching and reduction strategies would be greatly enhanced by greater reliance on the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) framework in the provision of public goods and services.

Consequently, he said that the 2016 budgetary proposals would be anchored on some philosophy and policy thrust which would include adoption of a modified zero-based budgeting framework to guide project prioritization and informed budgetary allocation to various projects

Governor Ajimobi added that the public service would be restructured for improved productivity through the implementation of the 13-ministry structure with other departments and agencies restructured accordingly.

In his address, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr Michael Adeyemo, thanked the people of the state for renewing the Ajimobi administration’s mandate and for their continued support, understanding and cooperation in taking governance to an enviable height.

Mr Adeyemo pledged the speedy passage of the budget as well as the support of the lawmakers to Governor Ajimobi.

Bayelsa Govt. Declares N1.27bn As Deficit Balance

Deputy Governor of bayelsa state Gboribiogha JonahThe Bayelsa State Government has declared a deficit balance of 1.27 billion Naira as funds available after meeting its financial obligations amounting to 6.9 billion Naira  for October 2015.

Presenting the figures during the monthly transparency briefing in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on Tuesday, the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (Rtd), said that the state received a gross inflow of 6.5 billion Naira, out of which a total of 2.2 billion Naira was removed as Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) deductions.

On the inflow, he announced a statutory allocation from FAAC as 1.8 billion Naira, derivation as 4 billion Naira; Value Added Tax – 512 million Naira; exchange differentials of 115 million Naira, while Internally Generated Revenue for the month of September stood at 522 million Naira.

Giving a breakdown of the FAAC deductions, Mr Jonah said that the state expended 1.2 billion Naira as bond repayment, 18 million Naira on foreign loans to the state inherited from previous administration, as well as Commercial Agricultural Loan Scheme which amounted to 66.7 billion Naira.

On the outflows, the Deputy Governor stated that a total of 6.09 billion Naira was spent in October, comprising bank loan repayments of 1 billion Naira; salaries of civil servants at 3.6 billion Naira while that of political appointees stood at 515 million Naira. This is in addition to pension arrears for August 2015 which is 459 million Naira.

Governor Ahmed Explains Rationale Behind 20bn Naira Bond

Kstate governor AHmedThe Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has held a meeting with various stakeholders in the state explaining the reason behind plans to obtain 20 billion Naira bond from the capital market.

The meeting, which was held at the Banquet Hall, opposite Government House, was attended by labour leaders, artisans and professional bodies.

The Governor explained that since the monthly Federal Allocation to the state had dropped from over 3.2 billion to 1.8 billion Naira, the state had no option than to approach the market to meet the needs of the people.

According to the Governor, the projects earmarked for the bond covers all sectors of the economy.

Governor Ahmed also said that second overhead bridge, construction of schools, roads and healthcare centres would also be executed from the bond.

He assured residents of the state that the bond would be repaid from the Internally Generated Revenue for the period of seven years and appealed for their understanding.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party in the state had earlier disagreed with the plan of the state government to obtain the bond.

It described the plan as an attempt to further impoverish the people of the state.

Amosun Presents 2016 Fiscal Year Budget

amosunOgun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has presented the sum of 200.27 billion Naira for the 2016 fiscal year budget before the State House of Assembly.

The bill, which was presented before the House on Tuesday, represents a moderate reduction of 4.7 per cent compared with the budget size of 210 billion Naira in 2015.

Addressing dignitaries at the event held at the State House of Assembly, Governor Amosun said that other areas of focus would remain rural and infrastructural development, affordable housing and urban renewal.

The Governor said that the medium term plans had taken ongoing capital projects across the three senatorial districts into account.

The budget size is expected to have 99.29 billion Naira as the capital expenditure, recurrent expenditure 100.98 billion Naira, personnel cost made up of salaries and allowances 61.34 billion Naira with education taking the largest share of 40.170 billion Naira.

The budget proposal is expected to be financed largely from the Internally Generated Revenue put at 108 billion Naira representing 53.93 per cent of the total budget.

Imo Govt. Slashes Number Of Ministries From 22 To 13

ImoThe Imo State Government has cut down the number of ministries in the state from 22 to 13.

The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, disclosed this after a meeting with all the Permanent Secretaries at the Government House in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

Speaking through the state’s Head of Service, Mr Calistus Ekenze, he said that the new development in the State Civil Service was part of plan to restructure the civil service and make it more efficient and effective.

He also noted that due to the dwindling revenue allocation, the state government needs to cut down on cost of governance and look inwards in order to increase the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.

Imo Govt. To Concession Non-Productive Parastatals

imoThe Imo State Government has concluded plans to concession the management of some parastatals in the state that has been perceived dormant and non-productive for a long period of time.

The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, disclosed this at a meeting with Labour Union heads and workers of parastatals in the state, at the Sam Mbakwe expanded Executive Chambers at the Government House in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

The Governor said that the move is to ensure that some parastatals are more viable and productive, so as to increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the state and also cut down on government spending.

However, this decision by the state government did not go down well with Union and workers in the state which made the over four hours meeting end in a deadlock, as they insisted on payment of arrears before considering concession.

Meanwhile, some stakeholders in government have also appealed to the Union and workers in the state to support the decision of the government which is aimed at increasing productivity in government, and also enhance growth and development of the public service.

Kaduna Government Saves 120 Million Naira From Ghost Workers

kaduna government -on workers The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, says over 120 million naira was saved from salaries paid to ghost workers after the biometric verification of civil servants conducted recently by his administration.

In a state-wide broadcast on Thursday, Governor El-Rufai also announced a 60% reduction of overhead costs as part of measures by his administration to rescue the state from its precarious financial situation.

He stated that henceforth, the administration would adopt the zero-based budgeting system.

The Governor explained that the reason for cutting down the overhead cost to 60% was due to the state’s huge debt burden of over 74 billion naira, comprising 28.840 billion naira domestic and 45.44 billion naira foreign debts.

Since assumption of office on May 29, Governor El-Rufai had raised alarm over the poor state of the Kaduna State treasury, blaming the past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration for the state’s financial problem.

The Governor also said that he was worried that the public service in the state had been eroded by indiscipline, corruption and impunity which had adversely affected the process of good governance and service delivery to the people and warned that the act must stop immediately.

Governor El-Rufai also explained that the biometric verification exercise was designed to provide the government, an accurate and reliable record of its personnel and enable the government determine if the billions of naira expended monthly on staff salary was being paid to identifiable and verifiable civil servants.

The Governor stressed that the reduction of ministries from 19 to 13 and the 50% salary cut for himself and his Deputy were also targeted at reducing the cost of governance.

He said that his government would no longer spend money to sponsor people for pilgrimages or buying gifts during festivities.

Governor El-Rufai also said that those involved in the ghost workers’ fraud would be prosecuted.

Critics have described some recent policies taken by the Governor as too harsh but the All Progressives Congress (APC) government says it is determined to introduce a number of measures towards ensuring that the current economic crisis in the country does not bite too much on the people of the state.

The government says it would explore all available means to improve the state’s Internally Generated Revenue and also block leakages in the state.