NEC CONSIDERS NEW PUMP PRICE OF N302 PER LITRE

The National Economic Council(NEC), is meeting in Abuja to consider reports of its adhoc committee, recommending a N302 per litre price for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol.

The meeting chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is being attended by the Governor of Ekiti state and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum NGF, Kayode Fayemi, with Governors Godwin Obaseki of Edo state and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state in attendance, amongst others.

The National Economic Council(NEC) is Chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is also attended by other members including Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Godwin Emefiele and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

NLC REJECT GOVERNMENT’S PLANNED INCREAMENT OF TAXES ON SOFT DRINKS

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected plans by the Federal Government to increase taxes on non-alcoholic and carbonated drinks.

President of the Labour Union, Mr Ayuba Wabba, made the position known to Newsmen in Abuja.

The full statement :

On the 31st of December 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Finance Act.

Some of the provisions of the Finance Act includes the imposition of excise duties on locally produced non-alcoholic, carbonated, and sugary drinks.

The reason offered by government for this decision was to discourage the consumption of sugar by Nigerians as it has led to upsurge in obesity and diabetes.

In a letter dated 27th November 2021, the Nigeria Labour Congress wrote to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly pleading that government should suspend the implementation of the excise duties on non-alcoholic, carbonated and sugary drinks.

The Congress provided a number of very cogent reasons why government should not go ahead with the decision to impose fresh taxes on soft drinks.

One of the reasons we advanced was that the re-introduction of excise duties on non-alcoholic, carbonated and sugary drinks will impose immense hardship on ordinary Nigerians who easily keep hunger at bay with a bottle of soft drink and maybe a loaf of bread.

Our concern is the mass hunger that would result from the slightest increase in the retail price of soft drinks owing to imposition of excise duties as it would be priced beyond the reach of many Nigerians.

Congress was also alerted by the complaint of manufacturers of soft drinks in Nigeria that the re-introduction of excise duties would lead to very sharp decline in sales, forced reduction in production capacity, and a certain roll back in investments with the certainty of job losses and possibly shut down of manufacturing plants.

Nigerians would recall that this was also the complaint of tyre manufacturing companies such as Dunlop and Michelin which was overlooked by government until the two companies relocated to neighbouring Ghana.

A similar situation is playing out with the soft drinks manufacturing sub-sector. Government should pay attention.

With 38% of the entire manufacturing output in Nigeria and 22.5% share representation of the entire manufacturing sector in Nigeria, the food and beverage industry is the largest industrial sub sector in our country.

The food and beverage sub-sector has generated to the coffers of government N202 billion as VAT in the past five years, N7.3 billion as Corporate Social Responsibility and has created 1.5 million decent jobs both directly and indirectly.

There is thus no gainsaying the fact that the industry is a golden goose that must be kept alive. The health reason proffered by government as reason for the reintroduction of the excise duties seems altruistic.

Yet, we are amiss why the government did not place the excise duties on sugar itself as a commodity rather than on carbonated drinks.

The truth of the matter is that an additional increase in the retail price of carbonated drinks would put more Nigerians at risk of serious health challenges as many people would resort to consuming sub-standard and unhygienic drinks as substitutes for carbonated drinks.

The appeal to rescind the re-introduction of excise duties on non-alcoholic drinks becomes even more compelling when the projected immediate revenue expected from the policy is weighed against the potential long-term loss to both manufacturers and government.

The beverage sub-sector will lose 40% of its current sales revenue.

This translates to a loss of N1.9 trillion.

While the government will only make total projected receipts of N81 billion from the proposed reintroduction of the excise duties.

Government also stands to will lose N197 billion in VAT, Company Income Tax and Tertiary Education Tax as a consequence of expected downturn in overall industry performance should the excise duties be effected as being planned.

In light of the foregoing, we ask the National Assembly to quickly amend the sections of the Finance Act that re-introduced excise duties on non-alcoholic and carbonated drinks.

We also ask government to extend COVID-19 palliatives and support incentives to the Food and Beverages industry to cushion the shock and haemorrhage that the industry is trying to recover from.

Finally, we demand that Government should engage Employers in the subsector and Organized Labour in sincere discussions on other options that can deliver a mutually satisfying win-win solution to this issue.

We hope that the current situation will not be allowed to degenerate into a breakdown in industrial relations in the sector and generally in the country.

Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni

President

January 2022

PETROL PRICE HIKE: NLC VOWS SHOWDOWN WITH FG

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed a showdown should the Federal Government implement the planned removal of fuel subsidy.

President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, gave the warning in a statement titled, “Nigerian workers refused to take the bait” a situation which he opined could jerk up the price of petrol by more than 200 percent.

Ayuba Wabba disclosed that the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari had announce that the price of petrol could increase as high as N340 from February 2022 when the Federal Government eventually remove subsidy on the product.

“The disclosures by the NNPC GMD and the Minister of Finance were in symphony with the positions of the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri and the International Monetary Fund urging the Federal Government to do away with fuel subsidy.

“The response of the Nigeria Labour Congress is that what we are hearing is the conversation of the Federal government with neo-liberal international monetary institutions. The conversation between the government and the people of Nigeria especially workers under the auspices of the trade union movement on the matter of fuel subsidy was adjourned sine die so many months ago.

“Given the nationwide panic that has trailed the disclosure of the monologue within the corridors of government and foreign interests, the Nigeria Labour Congress wishes to posit that it continues to maintain its rejection of deregulation based on import driven model.

“It is difficult to convince Nigerian workers why our dear country is the only country among the OPEC member countries that cannot produce its own refined petroleum products and thus adopts the neo-liberal import production model of refined petroleum products.

“We wish to reiterate our persuasion that the only benefit of deregulation based on import driven model is that Nigerian consumers will infinitely continue to pay high prices for refined petroleum products.

“This situation will definitely be compounded by the astronomical devaluation of the Naira which currently goes for N560 to 1US$ in the parallel market.

“This will open a wide door to unintended social consequences such as degeneration of the current insecurity crises and possibly citizens’ revolt. This is not an outcome that any sane Nigeria wishes for.”

The NLC President explained that the “argument that the complete surrender of the price of petrol to market forces would normalize the curve of demand and supply as is being wrongly attributed to the current market realities with cooking gas, diesel and kerosene is very obtuse.

“The truth is that these commodities which Nigeria can easily produce have been priced out of the reach of most Nigerian families with majority of our people resorting to tree felling and charcoal for their energy needs.”

“Apart from our concerns on the transparency of the disbursement given previous experiences with such schemes, we are wondering if government is not trying to rob Nigerians to pay Nigerians? Why pay me N5000 and then subject me to perpetual suffering?

“Clearly, government thoughts on the so-called removal of fuel subsidy is cloudy and appears to be a “penny wise-pound foolish” gamble.

“It is clear that the palliative offered by government will not cure the cancer that will befall the mass of our people who suffer the double jeopardy of hype-inflation while their salaries remain fixed,”

“As we had done several times, we call on the federal government to consider various options that can help Nigeria navigate out of the quagmire constructed by the failure of successive governments to embrace developmental governance and accountable leadership.”

“Insulate the domestic consumers from the market pressure brought about by the free fall of the Naira by making arrangement with contiguous refineries not far from Nigeria to swap crude oil with refined petroleum products;

“Accelerate work on the rehabilitation of Nigeria’s four major refineries which are all currently operating at near zero installed capacity; and

“Establish empirical data on the quantity of refined petroleum products consumed daily by Nigerians. It is unfortunate that this record remains a myth and a huge crater for all manner of official sleaze and leakages in the downstream petroleum sub-sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.” The statement added.

PDP CANDIDATE CONGRATULATES SOLUDO

Featured

Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded Anambra Governorship election, Valentine Ozigbo, has congratulated the winner and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Chukwuma Soludo.

The PDP Candidate disclosed that he called Professor Chukwuma Soludo on phone and congratulated him after being declared winner of the Anambra State Governorship elections wished him well and as well prayed for his success.

Ozigbo, however, alleged that there were shortcomings at the election, emphasizing that the Independent National Electoral Commission presented poorly trained staff who could not operate the voting machines in many places.

“This election was fraught with a lot of shortcomings on the part of various government institutions,” Ozigbo said.

According to him, “failed woefully in providing logistical support for their staff and so elections started very late in many places and did not hold in many others.”

Soludo won with 112,229 votes beating Ozigbo, who polled 53,807 votes, and Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress who got 43,285 votes. Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party polled 21,261 votes came fourth, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

CRYING OVER ELECTORAL ACT AMENDED BILL 2021

Featured
National Assembly

*APC, PDP JOIN FORCES FOR A SHOWDOWN WITH THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

There are indications that the two main political parties; All Progressives Congress’s and the people’s Democratic Party, may stage strong resistance against the just passed Electoral Act Amended Bill, 2021.

The reason the parties are crying foul is clause 87 of the amended Bill which provides for direct primary for political parties in nominating their candidates for elective position.

Some Governors on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have tried at various times to prevail on the National Assembly to halt the process, but the National Assembly on the other hand, muscled the courage to look the other way; passed the harmonised version of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021, without batting an eyelid

They argue that it is the exclusive perogative of any political party to pick and choose either of the mode; direct or indirect mode of primary election, and as such, the option should be left open for the parties choose how to nominate their candidates for elective positions.

An area that obviously boxed the political parties to a corner is the fact that the National Assembly empowered INEC to go ahead with the Electronic Transmission of Election Results.

Another argument advanced against the Direct primary mode is that it will eat deep into the resources of INEC while playing its supervisory role when many political parties are doing their primaries.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the passage of the amended version as unacceptable, emphasizing that no party has the right to impose its will on another on the method to adopt in primary election.

The passage followed the consideration of the report of the Conference Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives, which was set up in line with the existing tradition, to carefully scrutinize, clause by clause, the merit and demerits of the Bill before it was passed and awaiting the assent of the President.

21 clauses were harmonised, including the controversial clause 52; which provides for Electronic Transmission of Election Result (ETR) and clause 87 which mandates political parties to adopt the direct primary mode of selection of candidates into elective positions amongst other clauses.

Direct primary gives right to the participation of all party members in the nomination process of party candidates, while the indirect primary is used at the whims and caprices of Governors or party leaders who recriuite their choice party leaders from the ward, Local Government and State executive members to function as delegates to nominate party’s candidates at a congress or convention.

The final harmonisation and passage of the Bill by the Senate and the House of Representatives is a process that started from the seventh, through to the eight and was concluded by the to the ninth Assembly.

JUST IN: KIDNAPPED UNIABUJA PROFESSORS, OTHERS RESCUED

8 UNIABUJA students win N2.2m research grants

Two Professors of the University of Abuja and others who were allegedly abducted by bandits on Tuesday from the institution’s Staff Quarters, have been rescued by security forces.

Confirming the development, Spokesperson of the FCT Police Command, DSP Josephine Adeh, said: “all abducted victims of the University of Abuja were rescued and reunited with their families through a joint operation with other security agencies.”

The victims included; professor of Economics, Joseph Obansa, his son and daughter, The University’s Deputy Registrar, Mallam Sambo, Dr Fegurson  Tobins and two children of Prof. Bassey Udom of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences.

Suspected bandits had reportedly storm the staff quarters of the institution in Giri area of Gwagwalada Area Council on Tuesday, stealing and abducting the Lecturers and their family members.

OVER 50 VEHICLES ALLEGEDLY VANDALIZED AS PDP HOLD CONGRESS

The two camps are one loyal to Governor Seyi Makinde and the other led by some members of the party not pleased with Makinde’s style.

While Makinde’s camp had its congress at Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, the second camp had its congress at Jogor Centre, Ibadan.

The congress organised by Makinde had him, members of his cabinet, members of the state House of Assembly, local government chairmen, political appointees and other members of the party loyal to him in attendance.

The one organised by aggrieved members was attended by former House of Representatives leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola; a member of the House of Representatives representing Ibarapa North/ Ibarapa Central, Hon. Ajibola Muraina; former Deputy Governor, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi; Alhaji Nurain Akanbi, Alhaji Adebisi Olopoeniyan and Hon. Yemi Aderibigbe, among others.

With the two parallel congresses, the party is going to produce two state executives in the state.

Meanwhile, hoodlums allegedly vandalised over 50 vehicles at the Oyo State PDP Congress held at Jogor Event Centre, Ibadan where over 2000 delegates had assembled.

Few minutes to the end of the whole exercise, some hoodlums stormed the venue of the congress, leaving over 50 vehicles damaged. The hoodlums invaded the venue with dangerous weapons and were repelled by the combined team of the Nigerian Police Force and Operatives of the Department of the State Security.

In a remark, Hon. Yemi Aderibigbe said: “It is clear that God is in our side. It is clear that the PDP is back to its rightful owners. We are the owner of our party in this state; we are the one that used to work for the success of the party, I urged you all to go and start working so that you can deliver your wards, local governments and this state in the future election.

“Those that underrated us now see that we are capable, and we are so glad to have our party back, we have shown those people from other parties that wanted to hijack our party the way out,” Aderibigbe said.

In his acceptance speech, the newly elected factional chairman of the PDP, Hon. Micheal Okunlade said: “We are all aware of why and how we arrived at this stage. Like others that are here, I’m one of the numerous victims of the misgiving of Governor Seyi Makinde.”

Other state factional officers elected at Jogor Center include Hon. Mathew Abioye (Deputy Chairman), Mr. Abiodun Oyesola (State Secretary), Pa Olawuwo (Vice Chairman Oyo South), Akeem Ariola (Financial Secretary), Mogaji Bola Akinyemi (Publicity Secretary) while Asiwaju Adekola Adeoye was re-elected as the Youth Leader of the party.