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Illegal call for street protest by labour over tariff threatens power sector development – Experts … As lawyers describe move by NLC, TUC as illegal, anti-development

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Industry experts at the weekend expressed concern that the call by organized labour to shut down the

Power Distribution and Generation companies over the Multi Year Tariff Order that came into effect in

February would impact negatively on the Power Sector and the nation’s economy.

According to the experts , the planned disruption of the operations may have more severe

consequences than the new Tariff which is aimed at ensuring cost recovery in the power sector value

chain, removal of the fixed charge , encouraging power conservation by focusing on metering before

billing and insisting that consumers are billed for only what they consumed.

Some of the experts argued that any disruptions at this time would negatively affect the steady progress

being made in the sector in spite of challenges posed by gas pipeline vandalism and other acts of

sabotage recently being recorded in the petroleum and power sector.

It would be recalled that on February 2, the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry sent out a peak of

5,074MW at 2130hrs – a record setting figure that displays significant improvement in the capacity of

the transmission system. This is the highest figure ever recorded by the industry in recent times.

The total energy sent out on February 2, 2016 was also a record setting figure of 109,372.01MWH (an

average of 4447.88MWh/h).

According to industry statistics, the past three months has seen a series of record setting figures and

incremental growth in spite of very challenging operational environment, with the previous peak figure

achieved being 4,883MW on 21:15h on November 24 2015, and the previous maximum total energy

sent out achieved on January 27, 2016 being 107,142.32MWH.

The experts noted that though a lot of work remains to be done, such record breaking figures are only

achievable due to the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders in the country, from gas suppliers,

generating plants, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, distribution companies and all citizens who

have been patient with the industry as work towards improving the sector has been intensified under

the leadership of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN.

The progress and the fresh investment drive into the sector being aimed at with the tariff order may be

jeopardized by any poorly considered call for street protests or shut down of operations rather than

dialogue , an Energy expert noted.

Legal practitioners who also spoke with our correspondents expressed the view that the subject of

change in tariff was not a matter for labour agitation. According to them, the statutory objective of a

trade union recognised under the Trade Unions Act is to regulate the terms and conditions of

employment of workers. Price determination is a product of market forces. Electricity is like any other

product and its price reflects its cost of production.

Following the privatisation of the electricity sector, the distribution and generation aspects of the

industry are now in the hands of private investors. Consequently, price is now determined by market

forces in accordance with the provisions of applicable laws.

The law that regulates changes in tariff is the Electric Power Sector Reforms Act and it empowers the

Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to allow a licencee to recover the “costs of its business

activities, including a reasonable return on the capital invested in the business” and “provide incentives

for the continued improvement of quality of services” in the country.

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Union Bank, WACOT Rice Kick Off Financial Inclusion Drive for Smallholder Farmers in Kebbi

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As part of Union Bank’s commitment to driving financial inclusion in Nigeria, the Bank has partnered with WACOT Rice Limited – a rice processing company, to financially include 6,000 local farmers including youth and women in Kebbi State.
The Kebbi Financial Inclusion Drive (KFID) which will cover four Local Government Areas – Argungu, Augie, Suru, and Dandi – is a critical part of WACOT’s Argungu Outgrower Expansion Project funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) West Africa Trade Hub. This program is set to resolve the overwhelming financial inclusion deficit within rural communities in Kebbi.
The financial inclusion initiative is being implemented with technical support from National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), to help the farmers acquire the relevant documentation and identification required to open bank accounts.
Union Bank will facilitate account opening and expand its agency banking network to cover the areas while supporting its agents on ground with digital banking solutions to enable seamless transacting and account management.
Farouk Gumel, Chairman WACOT and Board Chair, Union Bank was on ground in Kebbi State to kick-off the drive and paid a visit to the Kebbi state Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to discuss expanding the programme state-wide.
In his recent keynote address at the recently concluded and  Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Conference, Mr. Gumel said:
 “As we work towards achieving financial inclusion to reach the unbanked, we must commit the same resources and investments to rural-local customers as we have done to urban-global clients to help create the growth that will lift us all to collective prosperity.”
WACOT Rice is a subsidiary of TGI Group. TGI Group, through another of its subsidiary Titan Trust Bank, recently acquired Union Bank in a landmark transaction which was announced in 2021.

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FIRSTBANK PARTNERS VERVE INTERNATIONAL, MAKES CUSTOMERS MILLIONAIRES IN THE FIRSTBANK VERVE CARD PROMO

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In partnership with FirstBank – Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider – Verve International, Africa’s leading payment technology and card business, has launched its third National Consumer promo designed to reward users of FirstBank verve card with exciting gifts and cash prizes to appreciate their patronage and use of the card to carry-out their electronic banking transactions.

The ongoing 2-month promo will end on 30 October 2022 as 20 customers (10 customers per month) with the highest transaction count during the promo will be made millionaires, winning the sum of N1 million each. Also, N20,000 will be won by 25 customers monthly.

On the other hand, 2620 FirstBank verve cardholders that double their transactions every week, stand a chance to enjoy 10% cashback capped at N2,000 per customer.

Speaking on the promo Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, FirstBank said “we appreciate our partnership with Verve Card through the years; a partnership of empowerment and opportunities which include growing the economy, supporting new businesses and preventing unemployment. FirstBank verve card holders are encouraged to keep using their cards as it is a card offering that promotes safe, convenient and rewarding digital banking experience with 20 customers standing a chance to be millionaires at the end of the promo.”

Verve card is a secure debit card that allows cardholders to conveniently meet their daily financial needs such as payment for goods and services, airtime recharge, bill payments, funds transfer, etc. Verve card is accepted across all ATMs, POS, Web and Mobile Platforms in Nigeria.

The promo is also opened to new verve cardholders as non-verve cardholders are encouraged to visit the nearest FirstBank branch today to pick up a Verve card and start getting rewarded!

Only recently, FirstBank – in partnership with Verve – rewarded over 2601 FirstBank verve cardholders with various prizes; including N20,000 cash prize, N10,000 cash prize, N10,000 worth of airtime; power generating sets, refrigerator, cooking gas, smart TV and the grand prize of a brand-new car to a lucky winner.

 

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Federal Government Orders University Vice-Chancellors To Reopen Schools, Begin Lectures Amid 7 Months Lecturers’ Strike

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The government issued the directive through the National Universities Commission (NUC), and a letter signed by its Director, Finance and Accounts, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.

The Nigerian government has directed vice-chancellors to re-open universities and allow students to resume lectures immediately.

The government issued the directive through the National Universities Commission (NUC), and a letter signed by its Director, Finance and Accounts, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.

 

The letter which The PUNCH obtained on Monday, was reportedly addressed to all vice-chancellors; Pro-Chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities.

 

“Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses,” the letter partly reads.

We had reported that the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its ongoing nationwide strike.

 

It reported that the umbrella body of the lecturers in public universities had declared a warning strike on February 14, to force the Nigerian Government to implement agreements it earlier signed with the union.

 

The agreement stipulated how university education would be funded for better improvement.

 

The strike has since rolled over and is now in its seventh month following the government’s failure to implement all the agreements.

 

Several meetings between ASUU and the Federal Government have ended in a deadlock.

 

Consequently, the Federal Government went to court to challenge the strike.

 

The government through its counsel, James Igwe, prayed the court for an interlocutory injunction restraining ASUU from taking further steps as regards the strike, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

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