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Labour Insists On Going Ahead With Strike Despite Reps Intervention

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The organised labour insisted on starting industrial action on Monday over the recent hikes in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit ( petrol ) and electricity tariff, in spite of the intervention by the House of Representatives.
The workers said the strike will continue until their demands are met.
The Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress had jointly declared their readiness to embark on a nationwide strike and protests to compel the Federal Government to reverse the hikes . The hikes had generated nationwide criticism .
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila , on Sunday met with President of the NLC , Ayuba Wabba ; and his TUC counterpart , Quadri Olaleye , among others .
Also at the meeting were the Deputy Majority Leader , Peter Akpatason ; and Chairman , House Committee on Labour , Ali Muhammed.
The opening session began at 10 : 30 am and ended at 10 : 52 am. The meeting went behind closed doors and lasted almost one hour .
Emerging from the meeting , Wabba dismissed the various court rulings barring the workers from industrial action .
He said, “ We have had a useful discussion with the leadership of the House of Representatives. We have shared our concerns and challenges with him ( Gbajabiamila ) , especially the very challenges of the implication of the hike in the tariff of electricity and the ( petrol ) pump price . We also told him how the discussions with the Federal Government went and how the meeting was adjourned .
“ He has also promised to try to intervene at his own level , to see to it that we don’ t inflict more pains on Nigerians . And in the course of the discussion , we have also realised that the House of Reps has done a lot on this issue , including recommendation to government which we have shared mutually .
“ But the bottom line is that we want this burden that has now been shifted to Nigerians as consumers to also be lifted so that we can have a decent life . ”
Responding to a question on court injunctions barring workers from embarking on strike , Wabba accused the Federal Government of also disregarding a subsisting court pronouncement against electricity tariff hike.
The NLC boss said , “ Are you not aware also that there is a court judgment stopping the tariff? This is a valid judgment from the High Court stopping the tariff increase and that judgment is still subsisting. Are you not aware of that ? And on the issue of the court judgment , we have not been served .
“ As I said, in good faith , you ’ll recall that we were on the negotiation table up till late Thursday night . Therefore , our expectation is that we should be able to, in good faith , continue to dialogue , not to try to ambush because we have not received the order as of today and we don ’ t know the details of any order . Clearly speaking , we cannot speak on something that is not before us.
“ The reality is that , on the issue of electricity tariff, we have a court judgment , not court order , that has nullified the increase in tariff and , therefore , we believe that the rule of law must always prevail . And in this case also , we want the right thing to be done .”
When asked if the organised labour would still go ahead with the strike as planned , Wabba said, “ If the issues are not addressed – you ’re aware that we’ ve given a notice and that notice will certainly expire by tomorrow – all the actions we have pronounced will certainly take effect. ”

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NERC: Over 1m Electricity Consumers Have Received Prepaid Meters

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Reps Ask FG To Implement Pay-per-view Model For Satellite TV

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The house of representatives has asked the federal government to implement the pay-per-view model for satellite TV subscribers, to encourage “healthy competition” in the broadcast industry.

The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution on Wednesday, following the adoption of a report on the increment of tariffs by broadcast digital satellite service providers.

This was after Unyime Idem, chairman of the ad hoc committee, moved a motion that the report be considered.

“That the house do consider the report of the ad hoc committee on non-implementation of pay–as–you–go and sudden increment of tariffs plan by broadcast digital satellite service providers,” he said.

In March 2020, the house set up the ad hoc committee to probe complaints about high tariffs by broadcast digital satellite service providers.

At the investigative hearing in June 2020, the panel specifically tackled the Digital Satellite Television (DSTV), a South Africa-based company owned by MultiChoice, for high tariffs and restricting Nigerian customers to prepaid plans.

But during plenary session on Wednesday, the lower legislative chamber said the “visible absence of competitors in the industry was tacit approval of monopoly of the industry by the present operators”.

In their resolution, the lawmakers called for “expedited action on implementing the content of the National Broadcasting Code and the Nigeria information Policy of 2014 that would trigger healthy competition in the industry”.

“The entertainment industry has a wider spectrum with limitless opportunities for the teeming youths. The visible absence of competitors in the industry was tacit approval of monopoly of the industry by the present operators,” the house said.

“Timely application of these government regulatory intervention measures already articulated will revolutionise the
industry and meet the people’s yearnings on pay-as-you-go, pay-per-view and price reduction.

“Our extant laws that moderate operations in the industry is to be fine-tuned to meet the 21st century regulatory laws of the industry that is dynamic as the entertainment industry.

“The commission that has the power to license and regulate the activities of service providers must, as well, have the power to moderate in the protection of consumers. There is little or nothing a regulator can do if he is handicapped by laws that are not properly tailored to the needs of the society.”

The lawmakers added that “uncontrollable” market forces are responsible for the hike in the tariff.

“The recent increment of VAT by 2.5% by the Financial Amendment Act of 13th January, 2020, the fluctuating
foreign exchange rate in the country that affects the cost of content, broadcast equipment, experienced hire and technical infrastructure increase, increase in bouquets for a wider choice,
inflation on the cost of production and need to maintain workforce not throwing many young men and women who are gainfully employed by pay-tv into the labour market were some
necessary indices for price hike,” they added.

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FG To Regulate, Monetise Posting Of Police Officers As Escorts, Guards

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The federal executive council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the formation of the Special Police Services to regulate and monetise posting of officers as escorts and guards.

Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, said the new unit will formalise the deployment of police officers as escorts to VIPs and as guards to big corporations.

Speaking after the FEC meeting in Abuja, he said the approval was in the interest of transparency and accountability.

He said: “The minister of police affairs also had an important scheme which was approved at federal executive council meeting.

“It is the deployment of what they call Special Police Services. And this is about a new system that will formalise what has existed with us all the time.

“You know police provide escort and guard for big corporations, banks, and so on. Now, in the interest of transparency and accountability, the government is formalising this relationship. And there will be an introduction of tariffs and billing schemes. This will be using PPP (public private partnership) arrangement.

“The police projected the use of consultant that will help them to manage this. Part of the revenue will go to federal government. Part of it will go to the police. Part of it will go into police allowances. And part will go to consultants as their own fees.

“This is something that has been going on for many years. And it has happened virtually in all countries of the world. In our own case, it has remained largely, people will say, undocumented or non-formalised. Government is concerned about leakages in revenue and incomes which should be blocked.”

Shehu also said contracts worth N754,048,161 were approved for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for capital projects.

He said: “These are mainly for the supply of communications at the command and control centre. This is to enable EFCC comply with modern day investigative techniques, improve its operational efficiency, and support the administration of criminal justice system in the country.

“So, these are basically defensive and offensive cyber-security systems.”

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