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Economy & Politics

Selective minimum wage explained

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Civil servants waking up on Wednesday morning will have been surprised at a new term being flung around in news media and accredited to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. The term is ‘selective minimum wage increase’. According to a transcript of Osinbajo’s speech during a session titled, ‘Conversation with the Vice-President’ at the 2017 Nigerian Bar Association National Conference made available by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, this term may be the new approach of the Federal Government to the constant clamor of better remuneration for civil servants. What though is selective minimum wage increase?

What selective minimum wage increase is

The norm in Nigeria is a situation whereby whenever the Federal Government decides on a minimum wage increases as well as payment scales, the increase applies to all workers across all Federal Government parastastals, agencies and bodies, regardless of how efficient they are. However, with selective minimum wage increase, the Federal Government is considering increasing workers’ remuneration package, especially bonuses of certain government agencies, instead of increasing wages across board. Thus, while workers in some agencies will be fortunate to receive increments, others will no be so fortunate.

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Why this selective increase?

As many people will have already guessed, the dwindling revenue of the Federal Government is the main reason behind this new development, a fact that the Vice President did not hide. The stated that any increase in salaries must be matched by increase in revenues or else the FG may find itself unable to pay regularly. He explained that the 70:30 current expenditure structure in favor of recurrent expenses such as salaries was not sustainable, and could therefore not be worsened.

To put this into proper perspective, employees of government agencies that have consistently been efficient, met its revenue targets and declared multi year surpluses are not rewarded for their efforts via an increase in salary or minimum wage. Because of the current minimum wage policy, they are often bundled with agencies that are not efficient and as such do not get to earn wage increases. This negates the very essence of healthy competition among government agencies.

Thus the government is saying, we will only increase the minimum wage of agencies that meet revenue targets and post surpluses.

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Issues around selective increase

The first issue around this selective increase is how beneficiary ministries and parastatals will be selected. Osinbajo already gave a hint at the FG’s thought pattern in this matter. “I think that what we are probably going to end up doing is what we have done with some of the parastatals; in other words, identifying certain government services that must be remunerated differently in order to increase efficiency. One of the revenue generating agencies, for instance, is the Federal Inland Revenue Service.” he said.

However, looking at efficiency in terms of revenue output could be detrimental to the society at large. For example, in what monetary terms can we quantify the work done in the health sector? Frankly speaking, all government bodies will lay claim to the fact that they can be more efficient if adequately funded. This leaves a conundrum for FG to resolve when selecting beneficiaries.

Another very likely outcome in this scenario is an industrial action by workers of agencies that do not make the beneficiary list. These workers will claim that increasing the remuneration of their peers in other agencies while leaving them out is simply unfair and unacceptable. A related result may be the weakening of the country’s labor body, the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) as parties on either side seek their respective advantages.

Whatever he case, the concept of selective increase is definitely still new to Nigerians and the FG itself. If it is to work, there are several considerations that need to be taken care of. Or else, the FG may face an implosion of greater financial loss than even continuing the broad minimum wage increase presently in place.

Patricia

Chacha Wabara-Ogbobine is a Legal practitioner with over 9years post call experience. A research Consultant, professional writer and a blogger at heart,owner of four thriving websites with well over 10years of experience. Totally in love with keeping fit and coaching weight loss enthusiasts. I love my quiet time, being with my kids, watching TV series for hours on end.

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Economy & Politics

NDDC reveals more lists of contracts awarded to federal legislators

The Commission said it released the list to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly.

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NDDC corruption probe: Commission denies spending N81.5 billion in 6 months 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said there is another list of emergency contracts that were awarded to National Assembly members in 2017 and 2019. This list was not submitted to National Assembly following the recent probe of the NDDC.

This disclosure was made in a press statement by the NDDC earlier today which was signed by the commission’s Director for Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili. According to the statement, the initial list that was submitted by the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, was actually compiled by the former management of the commission in 2018, not the minister himself.

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READ ALSO: Explained: CBN’s powers to seize bank account of criminals

The statement by the NDDC went further to note that the Interim Management Committee of the Commission stands by the list which came from the files already in the possession of the forensic auditors.

The Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Commission stands by the list, which came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors. It is not an Akpabio list but the NDDC’s list. The list is part of the volume of 8,000 documents already handed over to the forensic auditors,” the statement said in parts.

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READ MORE: 2021 Budget: FG projects spending plan of N11.86 trillion and deficit of N5.16 trillion

In the meantime, the NDDC has urged prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta, whose names appeared on that list, not to panic, because the NDDC is aware that their names were used to secure contracts. The ongoing forensic audit would help to unearth those behind those contracts, the NDDC said in the statement.

Furthermore, the commission disclosed that it released the list to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly who used fronts to collect contracts from the NDDC, some of which were never executed. Interestingly, the list did not include the unique case of 250 contracts that were signed for and collected in one day by one person, ostensibly for members of the National Assembly.

While assuring that the forensic audit exercise is on course, the NDDC noted that the commission had positioned 185 media support specialists to identify the sites of every project captured in its books for verification by the forensic auditors.

READ MORE: NDDC Probe: Akpabio accuses NASS members of getting most of the commission’s contracts

The NDDC then enjoined members of the public not to be distracted or swayed by a lot of misinformation and falsehood that are being orchestrated by mischief makers, even as more of such will be expected by those opposed to the IMC.

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It can be recalled that Akpabio, while appearing before the members of the house of representatives ad-hoc committee probing the N40 billion corruption allegation against the IMC of NDDC, said that most of the contracts that are being awarded at the commission were given to members of the national assembly.

READ ALSO: Akpabio denies accusing Reps of receiving 60% of NDDC contracts

Not that likely, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, asked the minister to provide within 48 hours, the names of the legislators that benefitted from such contracts with full details or face legal action.

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Senator Akpabio, in response to the ultimatum, sent an official letter to the Speaker, providing the names of the national assembly members that benefitted from such contracts.

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Economy & Politics

FG reveals amount spent on school feeding program during lockdown, denies spending N13.5bn monthly

The FG said it had only spent about N523.3 million on the programme during the lockdown.

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FG reveals amount spent on school feeding program during lockdown, denies spending N13.5bn monthly, Over 20% of N-Power beneficiaries are now business owners - FG

The Federal Government has denied some media reports that it spent the sum of N13.5 billion monthly on the homegrown school feeding program across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja during the lockdown period when school children were at home.

The FG said it had only spent about N523.3 million on the school feeding program during the lockdown.

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The disclosure was made by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, on Monday, August 3, in Abuja.

READ MORE: FG pays doctors’ N15.8 billion hazard allowance

The minister said that there had been a lot of rumours and speculations about one of the key government interventions, the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

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She explained that the programme was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th Presidential directive, while also stating that it was done in consultation with stakeholders.

The minister said, “It is critical at this juncture to provide details that will help puncture the tissue of lies being peddled in the public space. The provision of ‘Take Home Rations’, under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme, was not a sole initiative of the MHADMSD.

“The ministry, in obeying the Presidential directive, went into consultations with state governments through the state Governor’s Forum, following which it was resolved that ‘take-home rations’, remained the most viable option for feeding children during the lockdown. So, it was a joint resolution of the ministry and the state governments to give out take-home rations.

READ ALSO: Nigeria to build 142 agro-processing centres

“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, as pilot cases.”

Going further, she revealed that each take home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at after proper consultation.

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The minister said that the figure was generated from data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).

She said, “According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5 to 6 members in its household, with 3 to 4 dependents. So, each household is assumed to have three children.

“Based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding programme, long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day. The meal costs N70 per child.

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“When you take 20 school days per month, it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month. Three children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month and that was how we arrived at the cost of the ‘take-home ration.”

READ MORE: How Clevify is turning mobile devices into classrooms

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The Minister said that it was agreed that the federal government would provide the funding, while the various state governments would handle the implementation. She said that in order to ensure a transparent process, the government had to partner with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.

She also said that her ministry invited government agencies like the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and some NGOs to monitor the process, just as TrackaNG also monitoring and giving daily updates, thereby validating the programme.

Giving a further breakdown she disclosed that in the FCT, 29,609 households were impacted, 37,589 households in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 households that benefited from the programme between May 14, and July 6.

She said, if 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount would be N523,273,800.

A media report had suggested that the Federal Government claimed it was spending the sum of N679 million daily or N13.5 billion on the school feeding program across the country even during the lockdown period when school children were at home.

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Economy & Politics

FAAN denies allegation of stolen N750 million, admits breach of procurement process

FAAN says that the accusation of the theft was just a low and unsubstantiated blow.

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FAAN reacts to release of guideline for resumption of flight operations post covid-19, FAAN releases new guidelines for post covid-19 flight operations

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has denied allegations of stolen N750 million from its coffers, as alleged by an online medium. The aviation agency, while describing the allegations as entirely false, said that no funds to the tune of N750 million were approved or even went missing due to fraudulent contracts, as alleged.

This was disclosed in a series of tweet posts by FAAN, through its official Twitter handle on Thursday, July 30, 2020.

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An online medium had reported a stolen N750 million, following a fraudulent contract scheme that may have indicted top staff of FAAN. However, while speaking under conditions of anonymity, a highly-placed source within FAAN stated that the only procurement issue that was identified happened in February 2020.

According to tweet posts from FAAN, “Allegations of a stolen N750 million from the coffers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is entirely wrong, as no funds to the tune of any amount were approved or ever went missing due to a fraudulent contract.

READ MORE: FAAN now manages Murtala Muhammed International Airport’s toll gate 

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‘’The Managing Director himself, discovered and queried some procurement documents in February 2020. When the answers to the queries were found unsatisfactory, an investigation was launched, the staff involved were suspended, and later replaced in their official capacities.

‘’The recommendations of the management investigation were forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Aviation in June 2020. All this is fully documented and in line with federal civil service procedures.’

The statement also pointed out that some of the names being bandied around had no role in the failed procurement process. It encouraged investigative reporters to cross-check their stories and get factual information instead of smearing innocent people and settling personal scores.

READ MORE: FG pays doctors’ N15.8 billion hazard allowance

The statement from FAAN says that the accusation of theft was just a ‘low and unsubstantiated blow’ that could have been better clarified instead of going all the way to run the organization down. It also reiterated that a failed attempt to undermine the integrity of the procurement process, is not a theft, just as there was never any theft.

Also speaking on the issue of half salary to members of staff as was also reported by the online medium, a source in FAAN said due to paucity of funds, management decided to ease the burden of expenditure for all staff in view of the big Sallah on Friday by paying half salary to all senior staff only, with the balance to be paid next week.

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All FAAN junior staff were paid their full 100% salaries (that is GLs 1-7). It also stated that a notice to this effect was on all FAAN staff platforms since yesterday and the unions later got to know of it.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Nigeria Inflation rate hits 12.2% as food index rises

An online media report had alleged that some top officials of FAAN and some of their children had conspired to steal N750 million from the aviation agency by re-awarding old contracts that had earlier been awarded by the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika.

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They alleged that the fraud was carried out by staff of the procurement department with the help of officials of the account and audit departments.

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