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The financial cost of Public Holidays explained

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Nigeria is estimated to have lost N9.74 billion to multiple holidays over the course of 2016. According to a report by the Guardian, about 15 national public holidays were observed, excluding holidays declared in some states.

The Cost of having a break

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the fourth quarter (Q4 2016) showed that 81,151, 885 workers spent 37.38 million hours during the period and contributed N29.29 trillion to the economy at an average productivity rate of N783.51.

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Adopting these estimates, the study based its assumptions on the expectation that workers spend an average of eight hours of productivity daily, 15 days of public holidays at N783.51 productivity value.

According to the findings, this summed up to about N9.74 billion, representing 10 % of the budgetary allocation in 19 states in 2016 when assessed on individual basis, was lost to the idle periods.

As noted in the report, the huge sum of at least N9.74 billion lost to the idle period could serve more productive purpose. For instance, this same amount could deliver a fully equipped teaching hospital to enhance the epileptic tertiary health care system in the country.

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Past policies targeted at reducing the holidays

As a step towards minimising the alarming rate of holidays in the year and the attendant economic losses, the Federal Government was forced to make a policy during the military regime of General Sani Abacha prohibiting the shifting of holidays the fell on weekends to week days.

The policy was put to test when the late Founder/Publisher of The Guardian, Dr. Alex Ibru, was the Minister of Internal Affairs from 1993 to 1995. However, the country was reported to have returned to the initial practice of shifting weekend holidays to week days.

Occurrence of State-specific holidays

Also, it is noted that there is the frequent occurrence of state-specific holidays when some states in the federation mark specific occasions.

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These state-specific holidays include Osun-Osogbo festival in Osun State; Islamic New year in Oyo State; marking of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election in Lagos, Oyo and Osun; coronation of the Olubadan of Ibadan Day holiday; Edo public sector day, oba’s coronation day in Edo State; as well as celebration of Islamic New Year in Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi and Sokoto states, among others.

Private sectors’ perspectives

As a way of addressing the issue of incessant holiday, members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have called on the government across the states and at the federal level to optimise the use of available human and other resources efficiently for improved productivity.

As reported by the Guardian, the Director General, Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Olusegun Oshinowo noted these holidays reduce the capacity of the country to maximize potentials.

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According to him, the country needs to decide on the holidays that are necessary and the ones that are not, to be able to grow the economy.

As a nation we don’t seem to appreciate that time is productivity, productivity is money and productivity is translated to Gross Domestic Products (GDP). The issue of excessive public holidays has to be addressed because holiday that ordinarily should be one day, for no reason that can be cited, government will declare two days.

I know that if Nigeria was paying workers per hour, she would have realised the big loss to public holidays, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Bobboi Kaigama said.

Patricia
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Coronavirus

COVID-19: WHO reverses itself based on new discovery about the virus

This admission is coming on the heels of criticisms from experts.

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WHO warns countries against rushing to lift coronavirus restrictions

The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided an update on the modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from infected people, based on new scientific evidence.

The WHO on Thursday, formally recognized that the coronavirus can be transmitted indoors by droplets in the air, marking a reversal for the United Nation’s agency.

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In a scientific brief, the WHO said that people who spend time in crowded places with poor ventilation are at risk of being infected by the coronavirus as the droplets circulate throughout the air in indoor gatherings.

This admission is coming on the heels of criticisms from experts who have been putting pressure on the UN health agency to update its description of the spread of the virus to include the possibility of airborne infections.

The WHO now admits that transmissions through aerosols, or tiny air droplets, could have been behind outbreaks of COVID-19 that have been reported in some closed environments such as restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or places of work where people may be shouting, talking or singing.

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Apart from refraining from having close contact with infected people and frequent hand-washing, the WHO pointed out that people should avoid crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.

However, the WHO still focuses more on the spread of the virus by larger droplets that are discharged through coughing, sneezing and singing or from contact with a contaminated surface.

The WHO in its statement said, “Respiratory droplet transmission can occur when a person is in close contact (within 1 metre) with an infected person who has respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing or sneezing) or who is talking or singing; in these circumstances, respiratory droplets that include virus can reach the mouth, nose or eyes of a susceptible person and can result in infection.”

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It also revealed that based on what is currently known, the transmission of COVID-19 primarily occurs from people when they have symptoms and can also occur just before they develop symptoms when they are in close proximity to others for prolonged periods of time. While someone who never develops symptoms can also pass the virus to others, it is still not clear to what extent this occurs and more research is needed in this area.

The UN health agency had previously advised that the spread of the virus through the air is only common when people, mostly health care workers, were involved in medical procedures that produced aerosols, though a lot of evidence has surfaced suggesting that the virus can stay in the air for hours and infect a person when inhaled.

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Energy

DisCos seek CBN funding for massive roll-out of meters to consumers

This, it was said will help DisCos meet the 2024 deadline which they had committed to.

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NERC, electricity tariffs, hotels, bars,

A Central Bank-funded massive roll-out of meters would expedite the efforts to achieve the full take-off of the proposed Service Reflective Tariff (SRT), Electricity distribution companies (Discos) have suggested.

According to Mr Sunday Oduntan, the Executive Director in charge of research and advocacy at the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), such funding would help ensure that all electricity customers are adequately metered under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) regulation.

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Oduntan, who said this in a statement to NAN on Friday, also disclosed that it would assist the distribution companies to meet the 2024 deadline which they had committed to, for metering all electricity consumers.

He recalled that Mr Ernest Mupwaya, Managing Director of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), had spoken on behalf of the DisCos at the House of Representatives Public Hearing on the power sector on Thursday.

According to Mupwaya, the Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) provision in Nigeria’s electricity tariff was insufficient to cover the cost of metering customers.

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“Over the years, there has been insufficient investment in customer metering, due to inadequate Multi Tariff Order (MYTO) CAPEX and uneconomic tariff. The approved CAPEX for DisCos has never been adequate for comprehensive metering,” he said.

He added that the Discos were requesting CBN to provide funds for emergency mass metering projects since they no longer had a provision in their CAPEX for metering. If approved, the project would be completed within a period of 18 months.

Mupwaya added that the funding was even more necessary since no provisions had been made for metering in the event that the MAP regulation failed.

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The first quarter of 2020 had seen an average monthly growth of 75,000 new customers every month, moving the number of metered customers in Nigeria above 10 million, and decreasing the metering penetration from 45.5 percent in January 2017 down to 40.3 percent in March 2020.

“Plugging the metering gap that is in excess of six million meters has been slow because even the recently introduced MAP regulations incorporate inappropriate meter pricing and so, it is not working as NERC/DisCos expected.

“The twin effects of the sudden increase in import duties of 35 percent on meter and NERC’s wrong pricing frustrated the good intentions of MAP” he noted.

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He appealed to the government to grant full waivers on the 35 percent increased duty surcharged on meters, until mass metering was achieved, and to fix an appropriate and commercial price on meters.

He added that the cap on estimated billing had discouraged consumers from obtaining meters under the MAP regulation, and urged the NERC to allow Discos go ahead with estimated billing, introducing the capping only after the massive meter roll-out after 18 months.

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Corporate deals

Deals: Dangote Sugar acquires Savannah Sugar Company Limited 

Dangote Sugar Refinery will henceforth assume all legal proceedings.

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Dangote Sugar Refinery to merge with Savannah Sugar, Dangote was $4.3 billion richer in 2019, Dangote Sugar announces closed period, ban insider shareholders from trading , Dangote Cement: Weak revenue performance, elevated OPEX weigh on earnings

Dangote Sugar Refinery has been authorised to receive all the assets, liabilities and business undertakings, and property rights of Savannah Sugar Company Limited (SSCL) 

This was one of the resolutions passed at the court-ordered meeting of the members of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc held on Thursday at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos 

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According to the notice of the proceedings sent to the Nigeria Stock Exchange, and seen by Nairametrics, Dangote Sugar Refinery is hereby authorised to receive all the assets ((including all tax attributes, unutilized capital allowances, tax losses, withholding tax credits and any other tax refunds available subject to the approval of the FIRS), liabilities and business undertakings, including real property and intellectual property rights of Savannah Sugar Company Limited (“SSCL”) transferred by SSCL to the Company (pursuant to the Scheme of Arrangement between SSCL and its shareholders) upon the terms and subject to the conditions set out in the Scheme of Arrangement without any further act or deed”.  

Dangote Sugar Refinery will henceforth assume all legal proceedings, claims and litigation matters pending or contemplated by or against Savannah Sugar. 

In view of this acquisition, the court also ordered Dangote Sugar Refinery to issue and allot to the shareholders of Savannah sugar, 146,878,241 ordinary shares of N0.50 each in the share capital, for the 162,756,968 ordinary shares held by the Scheme Shareholders in SSCL 

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The Scheme Document dated Friday, May 29, 2020, was also approved at the meeting, and Directors of DSR were authorised to consent to any modifications that the Securities and Exchange Commission may deem fit, and give effect to the scheme.  

Dangote Sugar Refinery had earlier sent a disclosure notice to the NSE, announcing its plans to acquire Savannah Sugar Company Limited, subject to the approval of both company shareholders.  

Dangote industries recently sold its flour subsidiary, and this acquisition is part of an expansion strategy for Dangote Sugar Refinery, and the next stage of its backward integration plan to revolutionize the sugar sub-sector of Nigeria’s economy. 

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