It has almost been two weeks since the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) won its struggle for the upward review of minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000.
Following the approval, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law the new national minimum wage bill of N30,000.
Concerns over some states’ ability to pay: However, several reactions have since trailed the approval of the new minimum wage, with many expressing concern that some states may not implement the approved minimum wage going by their antecedents; having had to be bailed out by the Federal Government to pay part of accumulated salary deficits being owed in the past. Some states are still owing.
The minimum wage was approved against Governors’ dillydally: In the wake of delay in minimum wage approval by the Presidency, several reports indicated that State Governors were responsible for the delay due to the Governors’ reluctance to come up with an agreed figure.
Similarly, prior to this, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, had earlier substantiated states’ Governors’ reluctance to accept the wage increase, which almost frustrated the wage review process in 2018. According to Ngige:
“We couldn’t agree on a figure because of two reasons, partly the state governors have not come up with a figure and the state governors are a critical constituent of this discussion.
“We have six governors in the committee, one from each geopolitical zone. So, the NGF has not come up with their figure; they said they were still working on it; that was the last submission they made to us and the Federal Government team.”
Earlier this year, the Governor of Zamfara State and Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Abubakar Yari, warned the National Assembly against passing the new National Minimum Wage, citing that it would be difficult for states to pay. This came after the NLC rejected the approved N27,000 by the national council of states, demanding N30,000 as a new minimum wage. Yari reportedly disclosed
“It is easy to call figures, but when it comes to implementing in the field, it becomes a problem. Only Lagos can afford the N30,000 as minimum wage, not even Rivers can afford to pay that much.”
However, despite the delay of the States Governors, the minimum wage bill was eventually passed, marking the latest upward review of minimum wage since 2011.
The implementation stage – NLC won’t accept anything less: MANY Nigerian State Governors are famous for owing workers’ salaries. Before the last Federal Government’s N1.91tr bailouts to the states in 2018, some states were reportedly owing as much as one-year salary arrears or more.
Note that some of these State Governments defaulted in salary payment even when the minimum wage was N18,000.
NLC is already taking steps to avoid a repeat: As expected, major news headline in the early hours of today reported that there are strong indications that NLC states’ chapters have concluded plans to write Governors on the need to implement the N30,000 minimum wage beginning from May 1. According to the report, states like Ekiti, Osun, Cross River, Ogun, and Akwa Ibom have constituted committees to meet with the respective state Governors and discuss on immediate implementation of the new wage.
In the same vein, the National President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, has reportedly reiterated that workers would only accept N30,000 minimum wage from state governors, and nothing less.
“Once the minimum wage bill had been signed by President Buhari, it has become a law and we won’t allow any governor to circumvent the law. What we asked for was a living wage and we can’t allow anybody to shortchange our members.”
Workers in states may face some challenges: A cursory look at Federal Government revenue shows that 30 out of 36 states in Nigeria earn less than N10 billion monthly allocation. This is despite the fact that some of them have large workforce. Recently, data indicated a relative decline in revenue allocation to these states with rising debts.
Also, it should be noted that a significant chunk of revenue from some of these states are used to settle loans and debts already taken. While some states struggle to pay salaries, others grossly owe with no end of clearing arrears in sight.
Hence, it remains to be seen if states governors can make the sacrifices and shed their jumbo pay to make workers fully enjoy the benefits of the new minimum wage increase. Whatever the states governments’ resolve, the NLC is not expecting a smooth sail from the with the states and the organised labour union is reportedly ready for a face-off.
Flour Mills Appoints Former 9Mobile MD as Director and Group Chief Operating Officer
The appointment of Mr Olusanya brings to 14 the total number of members of the Board of Directors.
Leading Integrated Food and Agribusiness giant, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, has announced the appointment of Mr Omoboyede Oyebolanle Olusanya to the Board of Directors of the firm.
The appointment of Olusanya, who recently joined Flour Mills as the Group Chief Operating Officer, took effect from July 29, 2020.
This disclosure was made in a notification which was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for the investing public and signed by the company’s Company Secretary/Director, Legal Services, Joseph Umolu.
The notification from the company reads, “Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Nigeria’s leading integrated food business and Agro-allied group, owners of the iconic brand, Golden Penny, today announced the appointment of Mr Omoboyede Oyebolanle Olusanya, to the board of Directors effective 29 July 2020.’’
The statement notes that Mr Olusanya, who holds a B. Sc. (Hons) in Civil Engineering from the University of Lagos and two Masters degrees in environmental engineering and Computer Science from the University of Liverpool and the University of Manchester respectively had recently joined Flour Mills as the Group Chief Operating Officer in January 2020.
Before joining Flour Mill, Olusanya had served in similar leadership positions including Chief Business Transformation Officer at Dangote Group, where he spearheaded the transformation of the group, between July 2017 and October 2018. He was the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Emerging Market Telecommunications Service (9Mobile). He is also on the board of Axxela, Starsight and OVH Energy.
In his comment, the Chairman of the Board, Mr John Coumantaros, said, “We are most excited to welcome Mr Olusanya to our Board of Directors. He is a seasoned business leader, whose expertise and vast experience in areas such as Telecommunications, Financial Services, Energy and Manufacturing are mission-critical to our future operations and strategy and will help Flour Mill further its purpose of feeding the nation, every day.”
The appointment of Mr Olusanya brings to 14 the total number of members of the Board of Directors.
COVID-19: Russia produces first batch of its newly approved vaccine
Russia announced on Saturday, August 15, 2020, that it has produced the first batch of its newly approved vaccine, Sputnik V, hours after the health ministry reported the start of its production.
The disclosure was made in a statement by the Russian Health Ministry and quoted by Russian news agencies.
This is coming some days after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, announced the registration of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine in what could be described as a step ahead of other vaccine developments.
The announcement is seen as a propaganda coup for the Russian government against the west amid a global race to develop vaccines against the coronavirus disease.
The announcement of the vaccine registration by Putin was met with caution from scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO), who said that it still needed a rigorous safety review. Some of the scientists fear that with this fast regulatory approval, Russia may be putting national prestige ahead of safety.
Putin had said the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had been inoculated, although the final stage testing involving over 2,000 people just started this week. Such trials are considered very important before a vaccine can secure regulatory approval.
Russia has said the vaccine which is the first for the coronavirus disease to go into production, will be rolled out by the end of August.
The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed the vaccine in collaboration with the Russian Defence Ministry, said that Russia would be producing about 5 million doses a month by December or January.
Heineken scoops more Nigerian Breweries shares in insider disclosure
The company has about 8 billion shares outstanding with Heineken as the majority shareholder.
Nigerian Breweries major shareholder, Heineken disclosed it purchased 274,542 units at an average price N35.76 per unit.
Insider disclosures are reported on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as a regulatory requirement especially when it informs a major shareholder or director of a company purchasing shares in the company they own.
In a related development, its chairman Chief Kolawole Babalola Jamodu also purchased 10,000 units at N37 per unit.
Nigeria Breweries closed at N36 per share on Friday trading at a price to earnings of 34x. The company has about 8 billion shares outstanding with Heineken as the majority shareholder.
What this means: Insider purchases are often an indication of how shareholders perceive the company’s valuation. It can also mean a lot of things from a possible capital raise to a strengthening of their existing holdings.
Nigerian Breweries has struggled for growth over the last few years as consumers continue to experience a change to taste and preference for alcohol.