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Business

ASUU strike may be called off soon – Dr. Chris Ngige

The Minister of Labor and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has disclosed that the ongoing ASUU strike may be called off soon.

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FG moves to reduce allowances of all political office holders, Dangote, Elumelu, Leo Stan Ekeh, others set to receive FG’s National Productivity Merit award

There is a strong indication that the ongoing and lingering strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will soon come to an end.

This was exclusively revealed by the Minister of Labor and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige as he stated that the Ministries of Finance, Education, Labor and Employment, and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation will meet with the academic union to deliberate on all pending issues for prompt resolutions.

READ: IPPIS: FG considers adopting ASUU’s proposed payment platform

On the part of the federal government towards demonstrating good faith in the negotiation, and to end the truce which had taken a toll on the tertiary educational system, it is considering paying N30 billion to ASUU, though the peace meeting which was to hold on Thursday was postponed to October 21st.

READ: FG to provide support to Aviation investors

It is feared that the escalation of the #EndSARS protests in most major cities in Nigeria is made possible and blamed on the continued strike by the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) as it has created impetus for the university students to join the ongoing protests against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across Nigeria.

READ: Key ‘side-hustles’ Nigerian Bankers supplement their income with

What they are saying

The ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, commended the Senate President and the Minister of Labour and Employment and Accountant-General of the Federation, among others, for making discussion possible between the concerned parties, adding that  “Our members are ready and willing to go back to class because it is a matter of national interest. Just like every other person’s child is at home, our children are also at home.”

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READ: NNPC discloses basis for employment and managerial progression in the oil firm

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Ngige, stated that the prolonged strike has completely paralyzed the academic activities in tertiary institutions across the country. According to him, “For the past one week, we have all been on our toes, we have been meeting and we pray that this meeting will yield some good fruits. We don’t take very great pleasure, to the fact that the children who are supposed to be in school are being recruited into the #EndSARS, #EndStrike, #EndSWAT and all the kind of situations. As much as possible, we will try to see how we can meet ourselves halfway, so that we can resolve this crisis to the benefits of all and the country at large.”

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Johnson is a risk management professional and banker with unbridled passion for research and writing. He graduated top of the class with B.sc Statistics from the University of Nigeria and an MBA degree with specialization in Finance from Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, with fellowships from the Association of Enterprise Risk management Professionals(FERP) and Institute of Credit and Collections management of Nigeria (FICCM). He is currently pursuing his PhD in Risk management in one of the top-rated universities in the UK.

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    Business

    FG explains why the loan for youth investment fund is limited to N300,000

    At N300,000 per beneficiary, only 41,000 beneficiaries would be covered in the first tranche of N12.5bn.

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    President Buhari to address Nigerians on Lekki toll plaza shootings after investigation , Youth Investment Fund:  Ministry of Finance and CBN to launch provision of funds- Minister, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports launch DEEL initiative

    The Federal Government has explained why it limited the loan amount for the current beneficiaries of the N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) to N300,000.

    The government said that it had to place a limit of N300,000 for individuals and eligible businesses who meet the conditions and guideline in order to ensure that it gets to as many beneficiaries as possible.

    This disclosure is contained in a statement signed by the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, who noted that the disbursement of the fund is being done in phases.

    READ: FG launches application for N75 billion Youth Investment Fund at 5% interest, how to apply

    What the statement from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is saying

    The statement explained that the ministry had received more than 3 million applications for the initial N12.5bn made available adding that at the current cap of N300,000 per beneficiary, only about 41,000 beneficiaries could be covered.

    The statement from the ministry partly reads, “The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has been following with interest the reaction of some beneficiaries of the NYIF, particularly those expressing disappointment at the N300,000 cap on disbursement under the first tranche of N12.5bn.

    Firstly, the framework specified N250,000 as the maximum for individuals and eligible businesses that are critical can access up toN3m subject to meeting key criteria set in the guideline and conditions.

    READ: FG upscales digital skills training, to train 500,000 youths

    Considering the number of applications received, there was the need to ensure spread and enable more beneficiaries enjoy the facility.”

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    The ministry assured beneficiaries that higher loan thresholds would be possible once additional funds were available in subsequent phases.

    The ministry in the statement also noted that it is ideal to start and gradually increase, considering that there are lots of first-time borrowers as well.

    The ministry reaffirmed that NYIF was not a grant, but a loan, targeted at supporting the youth to start small businesses or to inject funds into existing small businesses.

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    What you should know

    • It can be recalled that the Federal Government had on October 15, 2020, launched the N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund, which was set up for investment in the innovative ideas, skills, and talents of Nigerian Youth.
    • It is to also institutionally provide the Nigerian youth with a special window for accessing much-needed funds, finances, business management skills, and other inputs critical for sustainable enterprise development.
    • The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is the lead implementation entity and is responsible for budgetary provisions and for funds mobilization.

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    Business

    How FCT residents, businesses are adjusting to ease of lockdown

    FCT residents are putting aside the pains of the lockdown period as they go about their daily lives and businesses in the typical resilient fashion that Nigerians have come to be known for.

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    On the 2nd of January, 2021, the Federal Government announced the guidelines for the extension of the eased lockdown (phase 3) by one month following the rising cases of coronavirus disease in the country.

    The eased lockdown has since seen businesses reopen nationwide albeit cautiously and in line with social distancing and other government protective recommendations implemented. The most heralded of these recommendations, the use of nose masks in public places and social distancing, have been fairly adhered to although, in recent times, it would seem that many Nigerians are moving on from the initial dread that sparked full compliance with these directives in the heat of the pandemic last year.

    As with many parts of Nigeria, life has gradually returned to normal in the FCT. On Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency announced the arrival of the expected COVAX Astrazeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines, which today has seen Nigeria record 1,096,727 vaccinations, with the FCT recording 49,192 vaccinations as of April 18th 2021. Although vaccine apathy is still reasonably high, residents are warming up to the idea of getting the required shots to protect themselves and others against the virus.

    READ: FCT Minister presents N299.96 billion as 2021 statutory budget

    The FCT is typically a ‘Civil Service’ domain but this is not to say that there aren’t other businesses being conducted in the region.  Nairametrics took a tour around the Abuja metropolis to get a general feel and assessment of business reopening in the region.

    The first points of call were the banks which have maintained strict compliance with the enforcement of the use of nose mask and the admission of a limited number of people into the banking hall at a time. As with several other banks, at the Guarantee Trust Bank branch at AYA junction in Asokoro, customers are required to obtain a ticket from the bank security with a number written on it. Customers are admitted into the banking hall in order of the number on their tickets.

    One customer, Mary, expressed displeasure at the turn of events, citing the discomfort and the amount of time expended in carrying out hitherto simple transactions. “It used to be uncomfortable at first, but since it for our safety, we have no choice but to adhere to the protocol,” she stated.

    READ: Nigeria’s COVID-19 curve is flattening at a rapid pace.

    In the area of transportation, ride-hailing services which had until last year enjoyed immense patronage, are also just beginning to pick up. Emmanuel a driver for a ride-hailing service confirmed that business has picked up compared to the first phase of the lockdown easing. He, however, lamented the effect that rising inflation was having on his daily income from the executive cab business.

    “Honestly, I am happy that businesses are picking up but we still need support. The rising prices of things are not reflected in the fare that our passengers are charged. We have to service the car, pay for fuel, and other needs. Although we are happy to be back, we feel things can be better,” he affirmed.

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    Public transport, on the other hand, has long moved on from the days of enforcement of a limited number of passengers in vehicles and the compulsory masking up of all passengers. Neither the drivers nor the conductors of the buses boarded during this investigation were particular about social distancing or the use of masks. Many safety-conscious passengers were, however, observed to still use their masks while onboard.

    Bus fares have largely remained the same as they were pre-covid. For instance, the fare for a trip from Karu Junction to Berger still ranges from N150-N200, depending on the time of the day.

    Restaurants and food outlets including fast food grottos are also businesses that enjoyed immense patronage pre-covid but were forced to shut down or at best, streamline their services to strictly take-outs and online orders in the aftermath of the breakout of the pandemic. A trip to a KFC outlet at Area 11 in Garki, and a number of other food courts revealed that customers are not allowed entry without a mask. However, once inside, the mask could be set aside to place orders and eat meals.

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    In Gwarinpa, at the Rooftop Puzzles Restaurant and Bar, customers are required to sanitise their hands and wear a mask before entry, but once inside, are allowed to sit anywhere and be attended to by staff kitted in nose masks.

    READ: CAC sets 3-hour time line for company registration in 2021

    To conclude, life has pretty much returned to normal in the FCT and residents are gradually putting aside the pains of the lockdown period as they go about their daily lives and business concerns in the typical resilient fashion that Nigerians have come to be known for.

    On the Legislative side of things, the FCT Minister has recently concluded plans with the FEC to boost infrastructure development in the city, with Nairametrics recently reporting that the Federal Economic Council has approved the sum of N82 billion for the completion and rehabilitation of infrastructure projects in the Federal Capital Territory. The projects range from the Federal Secretariat to the expansion of the outer Southern Expressway amongst many others.

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