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OPS, NLC Call For Guided Relaxation Of Lockdown To Save Economy

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Organised Private Sector, OPS; Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and its United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, counterpart, have agreed that there is need for guided relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown.

They said guided relaxation was the only way to save the economy from imminent collapse.

OPS said while businesses remain passive and unproductive with attendant mass losses of revenue, overhead costs remained.

This is just as Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and its United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, counterpart, insist that the earlier the nation does a strategic relaxing of the lockdown the better for the country and its citizens.

OPS, speaking through Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, in a statement contended that while the government should take decisive steps to protect lives, efforts should also be made to keep productive activities going to avoid looming job losses.

In a statement by its Director-General, Dr Timothy Olawale, NECA said: “The truth is that five weeks of economic and business shutdown has overstretched the limits and businesses are beginning to buckle under the weight of the burden it is carrying without a corresponding productivity from workers and necessary support from government.

“This is the reality today. Balancing the protection of lives with economic interests should ordinarily not be difficult. While protection of life should take precedence, the need to protect the economic foundation of the nation cannot be discounted as the economy will ultimately sustains life.

“While the government takes decisive steps to protect lives, efforts should also be made to keep productive activities going.

“Without delicately balancing the scale, the consequential negative effects of the pandemic will not only include unimaginable loss of lives, massive job losses and heightened insecurity, it might also lead to unnecessary social revolt.

“While a lot has been said on the intervention of the Federal Government and various coordinated efforts of other stakeholders, more decisive action on stimulus to businesses need to be taken. The announced stimulus, to a large extent has not addressed the critical needs of businesses that will guarantee sustainability and protection of jobs.

“Much more can still be done now, not belatedly, to save jobs in Nigeria. More direct intervention such as direct wage or income support, wage subsidies, tax credits or tax deferrals, short-term work schemes, moratoriums on loan payments and the establishment of a coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where government pays up to 60% of private sector salaries until June, as long as workers are not laid off, as done in other climes i.e. UK, France, and Denmark, etc would reduce the negative impact on businesses and slow the rate of job loss.

While it is desirable for the lockdown to be relaxed and not totally removed, it is important to state that a mismanagement of the lockdown relaxation process might spell doom for the gains already achieved.

“It is worthy of note that the main objective of the lockdown was to contain and curtail the spread of the virus. While the recent upsurge in number of confirmed cases might be attributed to increased spread of the virus and also increased testing capacity of the Nation, the need to manage the socio-economic impact of current lockdown cannot be over-emphasised.

“With a large population of the country in the informal sector and many surviving on daily wages, the continued total lockdown has the tendency to further cripple businesses, hasten the rate of job loss, and increase the level of poverty with consequential effect of increased insecurity.

“A relaxed lockdown with legislated State and National Guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus will go a long way in maintaining the gains of the past few weeks. The guidelines should include compulsory use of sanitisers, free protective gears by government (face mask, hand gloves (where necessary), maintenance of social distancing, increased education and awareness (posters, etc), total banning of religious, political and social gatherings, limited number of passengers in public and private transportation and strict enforcement of same, amongst others.

“It will also be imperative for government at all levels to be more strategic and transparent in the administration of social welfare and palliatives distribution among the most vulnerable.

“While the risks of total relaxing too soon, are very real, gradual relaxation could be considered under these stringent pre-conditions as done in Ghana, Germany and some other countries, albeit, with a high sense of alertness.”

Nigeria can’t continue endless lockdown— NLC
Speaking, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said: “NLC is on the same page with NECA because there is no time frame for the virus to end, especially since there is no known cure medically.

“We have said that we have to strike a balance. We cannot continue a perpetual lockdown, otherwise the economy will suffer and employment crisis will worsened. We are in a country where about 70 percent of the economic activities are driven by the informal sector and small and medium scale operators who survive on daily activities.

“We cannot continue to lock them down at home without providing for them. The International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC, has warned that 80 percent of jobs may be affected globally by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Petroleum: DPR Promise To Sustain Uninterrupted Product Supply 

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The Bauchi office of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it will continue to ensure the availability of petroleum products across the 500 existing filling stations in the state.Malam Abdullahi Isyaku, the Operation’s Controller of the agency made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Monday.

Isyaku said the department would continue to closely monitor filling stations, especially on the implementation of safety measures by retail outlets.

He added that it would constantly ensure that outlets adhere to the official pump price of the commodity.

“We are determined and committed to sanctioning erring outlets found to be shortchanging consumers,’’ he said.

Isyaku said that the regulatory agency was fully committed to assisting interested marketers who want to venture into dealing with Liquefied Gas LPG in accordance with the Federal Government policy on Domestic Gas Utilisation.

According to him, the department has intensified efforts on routine surveillance of all existing retail outlets.

This is with a view to ensuring compliance with operational guidelines.

“We will not compromise standards,’’ He said.

The controller called on all registered marketers to key into the newly introduced operational monitoring tool called ‘Down Stream Remote Monitoring System’ (DRMS).

NAN reports that DRMS was recently launched by the national office of the department.

According to Isyaku, the device will assist DPR in online routine monitoring of stock positions of the products at both depots and retail outlets.

It will also help marketers to monitor activities in their filling stations.

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Leadway Assurance Charges Nigerians To Embrace Cyber Insurance

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Leadway Assurance Company Limited has charged corporate entities, institutions, religious organisations and individuals to embrace cyber insurance to protect their database and computer networks from attacks by hackers.

With increased online and internet connectivity becoming part of our day to day business, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for protection against cyber attacks, Mr. Uzodinma Ibe of the Casualty & Liability Underwriting, General Insurance, said.

He spoke at a virtual training workshop on “Understanding Cyber Insurance” organised by Leadway Assurance for insurance journalists recently.

Ibe said a comprehensive report by a United Kingdom (UK) cybersecurity company, confirmed that there was high traffic when it comes to information, transactions and data emanating from Nigeria into digital space, adding that the survey noted that 36 percent of Nigerian organisations suffered cyber attacks in the last 12 months.

He also stated that 64 percent of cyber attacks in Nigeria exploited misconfigurations on the organisation servers, pointing out that Nigeria has the highest data leakage in the world.

On business activities, social networking and governmental activities, he said the report has also identified where Nigeria as a digital hub is and to what extent are their cyber exposures.

In order to avoid cyber attacks on our computer networks, which sometimes resulted into data and financial losses, there is a need for enterprises, individuals, corporate organisations, to see it as a serious business and take up some form of cyber mitigating efforts in this regard.

According to him, “Here in Leadway, through our research, we have been able to identify a particular area of cyber exposure where corporate entities can find themselves and see how we can do proper risk management and provide specific insurance product that can help them mitigate such exposures through Cyber Risk Management Insurance which in some quarters called Cyber Liability Insurance and in some, Cyber Risk Management Insurance.

“We have been able to highlight that technology, social media and transactions over the internet (cyber platforms) play a key role in how most organisations conduct business and reach out to prospective customers today. These vehicles have gateways – platforms, integrations that cyber attackers often use.

From Leadway point of view, our Cyber Enterprise Risk Management Insurance Policies try to help any organisation mitigate risk exposure for a certain cost expenses involve with recovery after a cyber-related security breach or similar event.

On who is being indemnified or who is being provided cover, he explained that Leadway Cyber Insurance provides first-party coverage and third-party liability risk covers against cyber-attacks for organisations.

“First party which is the policyholder, the individual or that corporate entity that buys the insurance, such policy caters for private investigation expenses where there is some form of data compromise or breach to reach out to different customers to inform them of the breach.

“Third-party liability coverage indemnify companies for losses to others caused, for example, by errors and omissions, failure to safeguard data, or defamation; and other benefits including regular security-audit, post-incident public relations and investigative expenses, and criminal reward funds.

“Risks of this nature are typically excluded from traditional commercial general liability policies or at least are not specifically defined in traditional insurance products. Most people believe that only large-scale industries, such as banks only need cyber security insurance. However, any electronic information such as your name, email, contact number, financial records, medical records, payment information, government documentation, etc., stored in your personal devices can be easily and quickly hacked by a genius hacker,” he explained.

“Cyber-insurance is a specialty lines insurance product intended to protect businesses, and individuals providing services for such businesses, from Internet-based risks, and more generally from risks relating to information technology infrastructure, information privacy, information governance liability, and activities related thereto,” he pointed out.

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PENGASSAN Suspends Strike Over Chevron’s Agbami Oilfield Dispute

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Mr Lumumba Okugbawa, General-Secretary of PENGASSAN made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Yenagoa.

Okugbawa told NAN that the strike had been put on hold following a truce with company’s management on April 15. According to him, the leadership of PENGASSAN and management of CNL reached an agreement over the matter, making the proposed strike unnecessary.

Okugbawa said that the mediatory meeting by Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum with the leadership of the union scheduled for April 15 could not also hold because a truce had reached.

PENGASSAN had threatened to down tools and shutdown Agbami Offshore Oilfield over moves by Chevron to cut its workforce by 25 per cent.

The plan to lay off 600 workers was announced, in a statement, on Oct. 2, 2020 by Mr Esimaje Brikinn, CNL’s General Manager Policy, Government and Public Affairs.

Brikinn said the job cut was to reposition the oil firm for greater efficiency and competitiveness.

Agbami field, which has the capacity to produce 250,000 barrels per day (bpd), currently produces about 140,000 bpd according to industry data.

NAN

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