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Senate Urged To Expedite Action On Confirmation Of PenCom’s Board

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The Senate have been urged to expedite action to confirm the appointment of the Chairman, Director General and four Commissioners for the National Pension Commission (PenCom) forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari in line with Section 19 (3) of the Pension Reform Act 2014.
Executive Director, Centre For Pension Right Advocacy, Ivor Takor, who made this call in Lagos, lamented that the absence of the Board and Executive Committee for more than five years, was a setback to the work of PenCom.
He said “The Board of PenCom was dissolved in 2015 or thereabout and for almost five years, the Commission has been without a Board. It has become a convention in Nigeria that once a new administration is sworn in at the Federal level, all Governing Boards of Federal Government Agencies are dissolved and reconstituted at the pleasure of the President. In the absence of the Board, PenCom has been managed by a Director-General and currently by an Acting Director-Director General.”
Takor pointed out that the lawmakers should bear in mind that out of a Board membership of 16, ten of them are Institutional representatives of critical stakeholders in the pension industry, whose inputs are critical in the formulation and provision of general policy guidelines for the discharge of the functions of the Commission; monitoring and ensuring the implementation of policies and programmes of the Commission; and carrying out such other functions as necessary or expedient to ensure the efficient performance of functions of the Commission under the Act.
He maintained that the pension industry looks forward to Senate’s expeditious confirmation of the appointments that will bring a new lease of life in PenCom and the industry that is emerging as the fasted growing industry in the country, creating jobs and value chain across industries within the financial sector of the economy.
The appointment of Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar as the substantive DG of the commission, he stated was in line with Section 19 (3) of the Pension Reform Act 2014.
The Section provides that “The Chairman, Director-General and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation by the Senate”. Section 19 (2) provides that the Board of the Commission shall consist of (a) a part-time Chairman who shall be a fit and proper person with adequate cognate experience in pension matters; (b) the Director-General of the Commission; (c) four full-time Commissioners of the Commission; (d) a representative each of the following agencies and institutions: Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; Federal Ministry of Finance; Nigeria Labour Congress; Trade Union Congress of Nigeria; Nigeria Union of Pensioners; Nigeria Employers Consultative Association; Central Bank of Nigeria; Security and Exchange Commission; Nigeria Stock Exchange; and National Insurance Commission,”he added.
By the Organogram of PenCom, he said the Commissioners who together with the Director-General are members of the Executive Committee of Pencom, will be heading various departments of the Commission.
He maintained that it is to the credit of the Acting Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahiru-Umar and members’ of the Management Team that PenCom has been able to move the pension industry forward through effective regulation and supervision of the industry; ensuring increased level of compliance by private sector employers; under their watch, small and medium enterprises are increasingly embracing the CPS; expanding the coverage of the CPS through the Micro Pension Plan, which as at June 2020, witnessed 51,974 informal sector workers enrolling into the CPS, contributing N42.1 million; under their watch, RSA registration grew to 9, 039,727 as at second quarter of 2020 growing pension assets to 11.08 trillion naira during the same period; and by ensuring that pension operators are managed by fit and proper persons, thereby ensuring that the industry continue to be insulated from fraud and maladministration thereby securing pension funds and assets.

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‘It’s Suicidal ’, Labour Rejects FG’s Plans To Slash Salaries

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Agency Report

The Organised Labour has condemned and rejected the plan by the Federal Government to slash the salaries of workers in the country.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, who said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, noted that the plan was tantamount to a “mass suicide” wish, for Nigerian workers.

Waba said that NLC was shocked at a statement credited to the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on the plan to reduce the high cost of governance by cutting down on the workers’ salaries.

”The minister also allegedly directed the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), to immediately review the salaries of civil servants as well as the number of federal agencies in the country.

”It is almost unthinkable that the government would be contemplating to unilaterally slash the salaries of Nigerian workers at this time,” he said.

Wabba added that, “the question to ask is which salary is the government planning to slash? It certainly cannot be the meager national minimum wage of N30, 000, which right now cannot even buy a bag of rice”.

He expressed the belief that the proposed slash in salaries was certainly not targeted at the minimum wage and consequential adjustment in salaries that some state governors were still dragging their feet to pay.

According to him, it is in public knowledge that the multiple devaluations of the Naira in a short time, and the prevailing high inflation rate in Nigeria, have knocked out the salaries earned by Nigerian workers across the board.

”Nigerian workers are only surviving by hair’s breadth. Indeed, Nigerian workers are miracles strutting on two legs.

”It is, therefore, extremely horrendous for a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pronounce salary slash for Nigerian workers currently.

”This call for salary slash by Mrs Zainab Ahmed is tantamount to a “mass suicide” wish, for Nigerian workers,” he said.

While opposing the move, he demanded an immediate retraction and apology by the Minister of  Finance.

The NLC president, however, said that if there was any salary that needed serious slashing, “it is the humongous remuneration and allowances pocketed by political office holders in Nigeria, who do extraordinarily little but collect so much.

”Workers generate surplus value and revenue for the government.

”We do not constitute any unnecessary cost or burden to governance. It is also important to make the point that salaries are products of contracts governed by laws. They cannot be unilaterally adjusted.”

He said that many countries of the world were increasing the salaries of their workforce and extending social security coverage for their citizens.

According to him, many are providing all forms of palliatives to help their people through the terrible socio-economic dislocations occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Waba said that it would be completely strange for the Nigerian government to be thinking of a salary slash.

“This move is not only at great odds with global best responses to the COVID-19 pandemic but also in violation of relevant ILO Conventions and Declarations on Wages and Decent Work.

“We urge the government as a social partner to quickly respond to the demands by Labour for an upward review of salaries of all Nigerian workers.

“Nigerian workers have shown sufficient understanding with the government through the tough patches of the pandemic.

“Now, Nigerian workers demand reciprocity of our understanding. Nigerian workers demand an increase in their remunerations and allowances,” he said.

NAN

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Paying ransomt To Kidnappers Is Foolishness —Obasanjo

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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday, has cautioned against the payment of ransom to kidnappers.

He, however, submitted that the government must develop means to deal with kidnappers and bandits heavily in place of ransom payment.

He noted that the governments of both President Goodluck Jonathan and Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) paid ransom to kidnappers but they denied it.

Obasanjo said he does not believe in payment of ransom to kidnappers and bandits, saying it encouraged criminals indulging in the act.

The former president berated any government that pays ransom, describing them as follies.

Obasanjo spoke on Wednesday at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, while playing host to members of Tiv professionals Group led by Prof Zacharys Anger Gundu.

Obasanjo insisted that it requires a “carrot and stick” approach to fight insecurity challenges to a standstill.

He said “Some people are still reaching out, and hoping that lives can still be saved. But a situation whereby anybody thinks paying ransom is the way out, that person is folly. He is a folly. This is because when you pay ransom, you encourage. But if you are not going to pay ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it.

“Government has always paid ransom. Not only this government, even during Jonathan (administration). They paid ransom, but they denied it.”

Obasanjo expressed fears that those beating drums of division in Nigeria don’t think about the interest of the minority ethnic groups.

He added, “Where do we want those minor groups to stand? Wherever they stand, now they are by virtue of Nigeria’s present situation a little bit protected. But if Nigeria breaks up and they are in a smaller country, they will be oppressed. They will always be exterminated. Are we thinking of that?

“I believe that if we will get it right in Nigeria, any leader must look at Nigeria with the prism of the diversity of Nigeria. For as long as you look at Nigeria with the prism of your ethnic group, then you aren’t going anywhere, either your ethnic group or religious group.

“But is there hope? There is hope.”

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Gumi Warns Against Sacking Pantami, Says Nigeria Will Regret If…

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Popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi Monday warned that Nigerians will regret if the embattled Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami is sacked from office.
Gumi who gave the warning during an interview with Roots TV said allegations against the embattled Minister were not true and should be discarded.
You would recall that different groups, politicians have since called for the resignation of the Minister over his past support for terror groups insisting that Pantami’s renunciation was not enough.
But in the interview, Gumi said Nigeria should get more people like Pantami and put them in power instead of calling for his removal.
“You cannot Islamise the whole world. Jesus Christ came; he could not Christianise the whole world. Nobody can Islamise or Christianise Nigeria,” Gumi began.
“All his actions, one hundred percent, shows he is not a terrorist. Those who are terrorists are after his life. The Minister should continue. His presence there is fighting the terrorist ideology.
“Show me, one person, he has killed. He has not killed anybody. He has not ordered the killing of anybody. Discard the fake news.
“The man is stabilizing a government among a section of youths, which we want them to come and join in nation-building. They should not throw him away. Leave him. He is not a terrorist sympathizer.
“And you people are fighting them. No. You should get more people like Pantami and put them in power. It will stabilize. Don’t remove him. You’ll regret,” he stated.

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