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Strike: NLC shuts down public offices in Cross River

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Strike: NLC shuts down public offices in Cross River
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Strike: NLC shuts down public offices in Cross River

The Organised Labour in Cross River State, on Tuesday, shut down public offices including schools and hospitals to press home its demands.

The labour movement comprises the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC).

They said the action followed the failure of the state government to heed to its numerous ultimatums issued over its list of demands.

A statement jointly signed by chairmen of the affiliate unions listed 14 issues in contention which included non-payment of gratuities to retirees of both state and local governments for the past six years.

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Others are the non-emittances of deductions from workers’ salaries and the full implementation of the minimum wage to both state and local government workers.

Also listed are the non-implementation of promotions arrears to workers of both state and local government councils’ workers and the reinstatement of pensioners wrongfully removed from the payroll.

Following the action, the gates of the state secretariat were firmly locked while many other public offices were also put under lock and key.

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World Bank Condemns Nigeria Consistent Spending On Petrol Subsidy

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World Bank Condemns Nigeria Consistent Spending On Petrol Subsidy
World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri-Source the Punch
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World Bank Condemns Nigeria Consistent Spending On Petrol Subsidy

The World Bank has decried the continued spending by the Nigerian government on petrol subsidy, which it said is on track to gobble up N2.9tn this year.

Its Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, who spoke on Monday at a panel session during the 27th National Economic Summit, said the country could channel the money being spent on subsidy to primary healthcare, basic education and rural roads.

“This year, Nigeria is on track to spend N2.9tn on PMS subsidy, which is more than it spends on health,” he said.

Also speaking at the session, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the Federal Government had made provision for petrol subsidy till the end of June next year.

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“In our 2022 budget, we only factored in subsidy for the first half of the year; the second half of the year, we are looking at complete deregulation of the sector, saving foreign exchange and potentially earning more from the oil and gas industry,” she said.

The World Bank director, who likened Nigeria to a malnourished individual needing urgent treatment, said some critical decisions need to be made now for the country to realise its potential.

He said, “I think the urgency of doing something now is because the time is going in terms of retaining the hope of young Nigerians in the future and potential of Nigeria. The kinds of things that could be done right away – the petrol subsidy; yes, I hear that six months from now, perhaps with the PIA(Petroleum Industry Act) coming into effect, this will go away.

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World Bank Condemns Nigeria Consistent Spending On Petrol Subsidy

“But the fact is can Nigeria even afford to wait for those six months? And there is a choice: N3tn to PMS subsidy which is depriving states of much-needed revenues to invest in basic services.”

The Chairman, Presidential Economic Advisory Council, Prof. Doyin Salami, said he had argued for a long time that subsidy really needed to go.

He said, “With the PIA essentially it makes illegal petrol subsidy and yes, there is a period where NNPC and the new regulatory agencies must calibrate themselves, but at the end of this period – and I think it is about six months, which explains why the minister has said for the first half of the year, there is provision.

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“My view will be if we could get it done sooner than that, it will be excellent. It releases money. The key point is simply this: we are now, any which way, at the tail end of that conversation, except if we choose not to obey the law. My sense is we will obey the law and subsidy will be gone.”

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FG Sets To Lift 35 Million Nigerians Out Of Poverty By 2025 – Osinbajo

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FG Sets To Lift 35 Million Nigerians Out Of Poverty By 2025 - Osinbajo
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FG Sets To Lift 35 Million Nigerians Out Of Poverty By 2025 – Osinbajo

The Federal government has disclosed that the new National Development Plan will create over 21 million jobs and lift 35 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2025.

Speaking on Monday in Abuja at the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES), the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibanjo said that the new plan was part of the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to create jobs and wealth.

Osibanjo explained that the Economic Sustainability Plan also served as a bridge between the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and the new medium-term National Development Plan.

This new Plan is nearing finalisation and was developed through an inclusive process that brought together a broad range of actors and stakeholders from across all sectors of society.

“I understand that the private sector including the Nigerian Economic Summit Group made substantial contributions and inputs into the draft Plan which is to be adopted by Government in the next few weeks and I wish to thank you for your contributions.

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“The broad objectives of the new Plan are to diversify the economy, invest in critical infrastructure, build human capital and improve governance and security. The intention is to achieve broad-based and inclusive GDP growth in order to create 21 million jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025.

FG Sets To Lift 35 Million Nigerians Out Of Poverty By 2025 – Osinbajo

This is ambitious but realizable target is consistent with the government’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in a decade.

“And this is crucial, growth figures are meaningless if they do not translate to good-paying jobs, and improved standard of living for our people. The question of course, I insist, must be answered, regarding all our policies, is what they mean for the creation of wealth and human capacity development” he stated.

The Vice President stated further that the new Plan incorporates aspects of the “National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy which was articulated as a guide towards achieving our poverty reduction target.

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The starting point for the implementation of the Strategy is the realisation that increased employment is an indispensable tool for reducing poverty. It is for this reason also that labour-intensive sector like manufacturing is also receiving priority attention.

Osibanjo explained further that “labour intensive interventions in agriculture, housing and solar power installations which are still ongoing will also boost domestic demand, especially for local products.

“As the housing programme takes off, we are seeing not only a large number of jobs at the technical and vocational level but also a boom in building materials produced locally such as cement, ceramics, doors, windows, locks, tiles, pipes and paint amongst other things.

The Solar Power Naija Project is another project of the Economic Sustainability Plan that will lead to the creation of a large number of jobs. We expect up to 250,000 jobs to be created from this effort to connect up to 5 million households to solar power.

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“This project is particularly important in the context of climate change and in enabling Nigeria to generate renewable electric power against the background of its nationally determined contribution towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050” he stated.

On her part, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed said the government was creating enabling environment for businesses to succeed.

President Muhammadu Buhari Friday at State House Abuja urged the MTN Group to make the available top-of-the-range service to its Nigerian subscribers… FG to create 21 million jobs, lift 35 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2025 FG to create 21 million jobs, lift 35 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2025 FG to create 21 million jobs, lift 35 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2025 FG to create 21 million jobs, lift 35 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2025.

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18 Nigerian Firms, Individuals Blacklisted By World Bank Over Corruption

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18 Nigerian Firms, Individuals Blacklisted By World Bank Over Corruption
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18 Nigerian Firms, Individuals Blacklisted By World Bank Over Corruption

The World Bank has blacklisted 18 Nigerian individuals and firms for engaging in corrupt practices, fraud and collusive practices in its 2021 fiscal year 2021, a new report has revealed.

A list of debarred individuals and firms was presented in a new annual report titled World Bank Group Sanctions System FY21.

The debarments were made by the World Bank Sanctions Board, World Bank Chief Suspension and Debarment Officer and the African Development Bank.

The debarments made by AfDB were recognised by World Bank, making the affected firms to be barred under cross-debarment policy.

Based on the World Bank Sanctions Board’s decision, Mr. Elie Abou Ghazaleh and Mr. Fadi Abou Ghazaleh, alongside their firm, Abou Ghazaleh Contracting Nigeria Limited, were debarred for six months for collusive practices.

Based on the decision of the World Bank Chief Suspension and Debarment Officer, a Nigerian firm, Swansea Tools Resources, was debarred for fraudulent practices for two years and 10 months.

Referred to under Sanctions Case No 651, it was disclosed that the firm misrepresented its past experience in its bid for a road maintenance contract.

The report read in part, “The SDO determined that the respondent, a Nigerian firm, engaged in a fraudulent practice by misrepresenting its past experience in its bid for a road maintenance contract under a state employment and expenditure project in Nigeria. The SDO imposed on the respondent a debarment with conditional release for a minimum period of two years and 10 months. As a mitigating factor, the SDO considered the respondent’s limited cooperation with investigators, noting that the respondent produced documents and agreed to be interviewed but did not accept responsibility for the misconduct.”

Another Nigerian firm, Juckon Construction and Allied Services Nigeria Limited, was debarred for corrupt practices for three years. Referred to under Sanctions Case No 649, it was disclosed that the firm made improper payment to a public official.

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The report read, “The SDO determined that the respondent, a Nigerian firm, engaged in a corrupt practice by making an improper payment to a public official in connection with the award and/or execution of two waste management and refuse collection contracts under a state employment and expenditure project in Nigeria. The SDO imposed on the respondent a debarment with conditional release for a minimum period of four years.”

18 Nigerian Firms, Individuals Blacklisted By World Bank Over Corruption

A Nigerian, Ms. Okafor Glory, was debarred for fraudulent practices for four years, while the firm involved, Unique Concept Enterprises, was debarred for five years for same reason.

Another Nigerian firm, Asbeco Nigeria Limited, was debarred for five years for corrupt practices.

The matter which involved Ms. Glory and the firm, Unique Concept Enterprises, was presented under Sanctions Case No 691.

It read in part, “The SDO determined that the respondents, a Nigerian firm and a Nigerian citizen, engaged in fraudulent practices by submitting false documents in connection with two refuse collection and disposal contracts under a state employment and expenditure project in Nigeria. In particular, the SDO found that: (i) the corporate respondent submitted a falsified income tax clearance certificate in its bids for the contracts; and (ii) both respondents submitted a falsified advance payment guarantee in connection with the execution of one of the contracts.

“The SDO imposed on the corporate respondent a debarment with conditional release for a minimum period of five years. On the individual respondent, the SDO imposed a debarment with conditional release for a minimum period of four years. As aggravating factors, the SDO considered that (i) the corporate respondent engaged in a repeated pattern of misconduct, and (ii) the individual respondent was the managing director of the corporate respondent.”

The matter which involved Asbeco Nigeria was presented under Sanctions Case No 675.

It read in part, “The SDO determined that the respondent, a Nigerian firm, engaged in corrupt practices in connection with an erosion control contract under an erosion and watershed management project in Nigeria. Specifically, the SDO found that the respondent (i) made a payment of N2m (approximately $12,000) to the project’s engineer to influence his actions in connection with the procurement and/or execution of the contract, and (ii) made a facilitation payment of N50,000 (approximately $160) to the project’s cashier to influence her actions in connection with the execution of the same contract.

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“The SDO imposed on the respondent a debarment with conditional release for a minimum period of five years. In determining this sanction, the SDO considered as aggravating factors the respondent’s (i) engagement in a repeated pattern of corrupt activity and (ii) interference with INT’s investigation, noting in particular that the respondent engaged in acts intended to materially impede the exercise of the Bank’s contractual audit rights.”

Based on the World Bank’s Sanctions Board Decision, A.G. Vision Construction Nigeria Limited, was debarred for fraudulent practices and collusive practices for four years and six months.

Not included in the report is a recent debarment of a Nigerian consultant, Mr Salihu Tijani, who is a consultant for the National Social Safety Nets Project, a project designed to ensure cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households in Nigeria.

Tijani was barred for 38 months for engaging in corrupt practices.

Aside from the firms mentioned so far, there are some firms that were debarred by other multilateral organisations under cross-debarment, which makes them debarred by the World Bank.

Sangtech International Services Limited, Sangar & Associates (Nigeria) Limited, Mashad Integrated And Investment Co Limited, and Medniza Global Merchants Limited were debarred by the AfDB two years under cross-debarment recognised by the World Bank.

ALG Global Concept Nigeria Limited, Abuharaira Labaran Gero, Qualitrends Global Solutions Nigeria Limited, and Maxicare Company Nigeria Limited were debarred by the AfDB for three years under cross-debarment recognised by the World Bank.

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In his opening message in the report, the World Bank Group’s David Malpass, stated that the bank had granted over $157bn to assist developing countries, as he emphasised the need for integrity and transparency standards in public finance.

18 Nigerian Firms, Individuals Blacklisted By World Bank Over Corruption

“Since the beginning of the global pandemic, the World Bank Group has deployed more than $157bn in critical assistance to developing countries. The crisis has required us to be rapid and innovative in mobilising this historic support.

“Yet, for these resources to have the needed development impact on the hundreds of millions of people who live in extreme poverty, we must ensure that resources are used efficiently, effectively, and for their intended purposes. And that means remaining vigilant to the scourge of corruption and ensuring that we promote the highest integrity and transparency standards in public finance,” he said.

He further highlighted some of the consequences of corruption, which he said could be devastating.

Malpass said, “The negative impacts of corruption on lives and livelihoods are well known. Corruption diverts scarce development dollars from the people who need them most and corrodes the systems and services that are integral for reducing extreme poverty.

“Entrenched corruption also comes with greater economic costs for countries, as it distorts public expenditures and leads to inefficient allocations of financing away from productive investments toward rent-seeking activities. And corruption increases the costs of doing business and deters foreign investors from entering new markets.

“As the world moves toward recovering from the pandemic’s damaging impacts, these costs can also restrict the private sector, which plays an important role in revitalizing economic growth and development in our client countries,” he added.

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