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Minimum wage: TUC rejects partial implementation

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Thursday rejected a policy unveiled by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) on the implementation of the national minimum wage.

On July 16, the Federal Government announced that it would start the implementation of the new minimum wage with workers earnings below N30, 000 monthly.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new minimum wage into law on April 18 this year.

The NSIWC circular on the implementation of the policy was signed by Mr Richard Egbule, the Chairman of the commission.

The Federal Government has been at odds with labour for years over an apparent endless negotiation to pay Nigerian workers a long overdue minimum wage.

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Egbule had said that the position of government was that the implementation of the wage would start with workers currently earning below N30, 000, while others would follow after the conclusion of talks on consequential adjustments.

However, in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, the President of the TUC, Mr Quadri Olaleye, accused government of playing smart to avert industrial unrest.

“We have read with concern the circular released by Mr Richard Egbule, Executive Chairman of the National Minimum Wage Committee set up by the Federal Government to work out the consequential adjustment arising from the wage increase.

“Let it be known that this circular is unacceptable to us because it contradicts the raison d’etre for setting the committee,” the statement reads.

Olaleye said that the TUC considered the circular as a smart move on the part of government to discourage labour action, stressing that “labour is not fooled.

“We wonder why anything that has labour undertone becomes the issue of rejection by government. By this circular, the government is testing the patience of workers.

“We assure them that they either go to the negotiating table to complete the assignment or risk the wrath of workers.

“It will be recalled that recently the newly inaugurated green and red chambers of the National Assembly were showered with billions of naira at a time government is playing games with minimum wage.”

The TUC statement said that organised labour would not be blamed for any consequential action, arising from non-implementation of the minimum wage, adding that, “to be forewarned is to be fore-armed’’.

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Iran will develop oil industry despite U.S. sanctions – Zanganeh says

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Iran is determined to develop its oil industry in spite of U.S. sanctions imposed on the country, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said.

Zanganeh, who said this in a televised speech on Saturday, added: ”We will not surrender under any circumstances.

“We have to increase our capacity so that when necessary with full strength we can enter the market and revive our market share.”

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The minister said this before the signing of a 294-million dollars contract between the National Iranian Oil Company and Persia Oil & Gas, an Iranian firm.

He also stressed that the contract was to develop the Yaran oilfield that is shared with neighboring Iraq’s Majnoon field.

“The agreement aims to produce 39.5 million barrels of oil from the Yaran oilfield in Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran,’’ the Iranian Oil Ministry’s news agency SHANA said. 

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Mali opposition says one protest leader detained

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Mali opposition groups on Saturday urged their supporters to remain mobilized after one of their leaders was detained in the wake of violent protests against the president that saw the temporary occupation of state buildings.

On Friday, police fired gunshots and tear gas to disperse protesters who had occupied parliament and the state broadcaster as part of a civil disobedience campaign aimed at forcing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign for failing to tackle Mali’s security and economic problems.

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“One protest leader, Issa Kaou Djim, was detained and remains in custody.

“M5-RFP calls on the Malian people to remain mobilized and determined in the hours and days to come,’’ a spokesman for the M5-RFP opposition coalition said.

The protest came after the coalition rejected concessions from Keita aimed at resolving a political stand-off that began after a disputed legislative election in March.

Mali’s neighbors and outside powers fear the impasse that could further destabilize the country and jeopardize a joint military campaign against Islamist insurgents in the West African Sahel region.

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According to the coalition, one protester was killed on Friday and over 20 wounded.

However, the police have not yet commented.

Keita issued a statement deploring the violence and said an investigation would be launched.

“However, I would like to reassure our people once again of my desire to continue the dialogue and reiterate my readiness to take all measures in my power with a view to calm the situation down,” he said on Friday.

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The opposition’s next steps are not known. The coalition plans to hold a press conference later on Saturday.

The streets of Bamako appeared largely quiet following the protest.

State television ORTM resumed broadcasting after going off-air when its building was occupied.

“Social media platforms Twitter and Facebook were restricted on Friday, but internet access remained patchy’’ Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks said.

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COVID-19: Port Harcourt International Airport reopens

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The Federal Airport Authority (FAAN) has restated commitment towards ensuring a zero Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission as Port Harcourt International Airport resumes operations.

Mr Abayomi Akinbinu, the Regional Manager, South-South and South-East, FAAN, said this on Saturday at the airport during the arrival of the first flight after three months of COVID-19 shutdown.

The first flight conducted by Air Peace 5N EUV from Lagos arrived Port Harcourt International Airport terminal at 7.50 a.m.

Abayomi said that the Port Harcourt airport management was poised at ensuring zero chances of COVID 19 transmission as flight operations kick-starts at the airport

According to him, compliance with the COVID 19 safety guidelines by regulatory bodies in the sector has been well upheld, adding that management will give no room for default.

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While commending safety compliance level by service providers and passengers at the airport, he, however, decried poor adherence to the physical distancing rule.

“To the best of my understanding, I think I’m satisfied with our adherence to safety tips but there could be a few protocols that we need to adjust especially in the area of adherence to physical distancing rule.

“Our markings of 1.5 metres apart are visibly on the floor, but maybe because of excitement it’s not being properly followed; so we need to make quick enforcement in that regard,” he said.

On passenger turnout, Abayomi said that being the first COVID-19 flight, low passenger turnout was expected with a gradual increase in the coming days.

“On the departure section, we are gradually getting more passengers and I believe that going forward passengers’ turnout is going to increase.

“My message to prospective passengers is that the Port Harcourt International Airport terminal is safe,” he added.

Dr Nuhu Mwabi, Head of Aviation Medical Clinic of the airport also said that the Port Health is fully on the ground conducting mandatory temperature checks on both service providers and passengers before allowing them into the terminal building.

“This is because we want to fish out persons with a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius and above so that we can isolate such individual.

“Our cardinal objective is to ensure that we contain the spread of COVID-19 as well as other communicable diseases within the airport,” he said.

Mwabi also said that various medical teams and the WHO is also fully ready to professionally handle any suspected case where the need arises.

“We have an isolation centre right here for any person with a high temperature to be examined and if need be, we would then call for further assistance from the State Epidemiological unit,” Mwabi said.

Meanwhile, some passengers have also commended FAAN on its innovations in the COVID-19 era.

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Mr Ralph Akinyemi, one of the first passengers who arrived Port Harcourt from Lagos, urged the management of the airport and other regulatory bodies to maintain the tempo, which he described as commendable.

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