After series of spending that the festive season is known for, combined with the subsequent expenses that come with the beginning of a new year, Nigerians, especially civil servants woke up in the beginning of a new week to the good news that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige announced that the president of the country, headed by Oga Muhammadu Buhari meant to give Nigerian workers an enhanced pay package this year.
The idea of the new pay package by the Federal Government was to approve a minimum wage that would be acceptable to all stakeholders, so that the government would also be able to pay such increment when the new minimum wage got approved.
This news came as a welcome idea to many Nigerians considering the fact that the 18, 000 naira that is currently the minimum take home salary for civil servant has become way to insufficient to take care of a family considering the harsh and biting economic realities in the country.
The 18, 000 naira that was approved sometime in the year 2011 when the inflation percentage in the country was not this harsh, can no longer afford some basic necessities of life. It can’t even buy a bag of rice anymore. It will even be worse to imagine paying a child’s private school fee from this now ridiculous pay package.
Yes, in truth, the final take home that civil servants will start receiving this year has not been clearly stated, but there are speculations that it is in the region of 56, 000 naira. Although, it’s still not sufficient enough for living a comfortable life with the current economic situation, but it is a lot of improvement that Nigerians cannot wait to start benefiting from.
Moving on, with the new pay package, the country will get more palatable for certain sets of people who will no longer have to flee from ‘Naija’ in search of better life opportunities. It is against this backdrop that our next news story rides on.
A whooping 545 Nigerians were returned from Libya just this last Tuesday, barely 24 hours after 485 returnees.
Well, we won’t blame them. Is it not our Nigeria that has become like this that is making everyone run at any slightest opportunity?
Back to the news, the 545 returnees arrived Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers state where they were received and profiled before they were transported to their various states.
It is intended that these people will learn from their mistakes and know that there’s no place like home. Also, more should be done for these people, apart from just repatriating them to the country where most of them have nothing but shame to fall back on.
The consequences will be grave if all the Nigerian government can offer these returnees is just their presence in Nigeria. The government should strive to give them some form of empowerment in order to encourage their stay, so that they don’t try to flee the country through illegal routes again.
Also, in a bid to sanitize and make the country a better place to live in and ‘so that we don’t have to import tooth-picks anymore’,the Federal Government on Wednesday, this week entered into an agreement with a leading trade law firm, King and Spalding, LLP Geneva, Switzerland, to provide legal services for Nigeria’s trade remedy legislation, as a key element of modern trade policy.
The trade law firm is expected to support the drafting of Nigeria’s trade remedy law as well as prepare a legal brief on the rationale and requirements for the legislation, which will effectively stop dumping on the Nigerian market.
This development has long been overdue, as the absence of legislation controlling imports in the country has led to the situation where there was no restriction of items imported into the country. All of which is undermining serious efforts of the Federal Government to support local manufacturers and service providers to competitively grow the economy through integration to global value chains, in a rules-based global economy.
Therefore, with the help of King and Spalding, LLPGeneva, Switzerland, a legislation that will totally control and check the country’s importation will be enacted and hopefully passed into law.
Moving further on events that occurred within the just concluded week, on Thursday, the Kaduna state government and the police warned against the mass protest scheduled to hold in the state.
The president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, on Tuesday said the union would begin a series of actions with the first phase of protests in Kaduna on Thursday to defend the rights of the affected workers who were scheduled to be sacked after their failure to pass at a 75 percent score, an assessment examination organised for primary school teachers.
Various opinions for and against the laying off of the teachers have continued to fly across various media, however, the state government has stated categorically that no amount of strike action will change the mind of the state government in sacking the teachers.
Finally on a positive note, it was reported on Friday that an alliance was struck between the Southwest and Southeast geo-political zones of the country with a declaration to remove all old animosities that had hindered the progress of the two zones and work together as one indivisible entity.
Families of the late Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi and former military head of state, General Aguiyi Ironsi, did this with the symbolic holding of hands.
This symbolic act marked the coming together and agreement by the two geo-political zones to remove all forms of tribal segregation and view each other as one indivisible entity.
The obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe after the proclamation prayed that God bless the union and with a thunderous amen the pact was sealed.
The summit titled “handshake across the Niger” was held in Enugu where the leaders expressed reservations with the situation of the country, stressing that the coming together was necessary for solutions to the myriad of the country’s challenges.
WOW!!! As I prepare to leave, the just concluded week was eventful and filled with a mixture of good and bad occurrences. We anticipate what the incoming week would look like.
However, from our end here, it’s good-bye till we come again next weekend with a review of the biggest stories of the week.
Meet you again in peace and in one piece.