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FG Slashes Ex-Nigerian Airways Workers’ Package by 45%

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FG Slashes Ex-Nigerian Airways Workers’ Package by 45%

FG Slashes Ex-Nigerian Airways Workers’ Package by 45%

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The final severance package of N78 billion for former workers of liquidated national carrier, Nigeria Airways, has been reduced by 45 percent, Daily Independent is reporting.

The paper, in its investigation, gathered that the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in its recommendation slashed the sum to just N43 billion.

However, Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, is vehemently against this development, insisting that the earlier approved sum of N78 billion must be paid to the beneficiaries.

Daily Independent is reporting that “the reduction of a massive N35 billion from the recommended and approved N78 billion by the Inter-Ministerial Committee is causing ripples in the presidency.”

Also, investigations by the paper reveal that this move may backfire for the Federal Government, which is contemplating on floating a new national carrier.

It was learnt that international creditors of the former carrier are preparing to sue the government over its plans to set up a new national carrier without first settling its old debts with them.

Since Nigerian Airways was liquidated in 2003 by President Olusegun Obasanjo, no fewer than 700 of the former workers had died of various illnesses.

Reduction of Severance Package

The Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by the Federal Government in 2006 had recommended the sum of N78 billion as the total severance package for 10 years for the workers, including pension arrears for the period after the physical verification of about 6,000 beneficiaries. But the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in its recommendation slashed the sum to just N43 billion, a 45 percent reduction.

PICA, at reaching the N43 billion, it was gathered, removed the 10 years pension arrears as agreed with the former workers, their unions and the Inter-Ministerial Committee.

However, the reduction of a massive N35 billion from the recommended and approved N78 billion by the Inter-Ministerial Committee is causing ripples in the presidency as the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, is insisting that the earlier approved sum must be paid.

Agreement with Staff

Also, the former workers in one of their meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari had agreed to reduce the pension arrears to 10 years from the agreed 25 years during the time of the late President Umar Yar’Adua in 2009, but with a proviso that the 10 years pension arrears would be paid, which the government accented to.

Apart from the Nigerian staff of the airline, outstations like those in Rome, Saudi Arabia, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Dubai and all the French speaking countries in Africa would also benefit from the severance package, which have been lingering since the liquidation of the airline in 2003 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Only employees of the former airline in United Kingdom and United States were paid their entitlements of 25 years severance package in full by the Federal Government.

Minister’s Letter to President

A document made available to Independent by a source close to the presidency dated August 10, 2016 with reference number Ref: TCA0036/S.I/T6/183, addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari by Mr Sirika vehemently negated the N43 billion recommendations by PICA.

Mr Sirika in the letter with the theme, ‘Settlement of the terminal benefits of ex-workers of Nigeria Airways (in-liquidation) – Appeal for Mr President Intervention,’ recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its meeting of May 21, 2003, approved the liquidation of the airline vide Conclusion 35 and Council Resolution No. EC (2003) 145 following which Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) was directed to effect the liquidation.

Sirika, however, observed that before the company was liquidated, there was no proper determination of the worth of the company in terms of income on realisable assets vis-à-vis the liabilities in form of entitlements of staff that would be affected. Government insisted that the workers must be paid their entitlements in full.

The document indicated that the sum of N29.1 billion, which represented five years severance package, were paid to the former workers of the airline.

Mr Sirika in the letter to Buhari warned that Nigeria may never have a national carrier again until all the staff especially foreign nationals are paid off.

The letter reads in part: “Following from the above, the ministry arrived at a decision to compute additional 10 years pension pay-off to make up 15 years (being one of the options recommended by the Inter-Ministerial Committee), instead of the 20 years pay-off demanded by the ex-workers.

“To this end, the entitlements of all categories of beneficiaries were updated and verified in accordance with the inter-ministerial template.

“It is imperative that the liability is paid-off because if unpaid it may stall the resolve to create a national carrier as the international creditors of the defunct Nigeria Airways may sue the new entity as having tangential relationship with the former.”

Payment Will Stop Agitations

Besides, another document made available to Independent on the issue by a union, Aviation Unions Grand Alliance (AUGA), stated that with the full and final payment of the workers by the Federal Government all instituted court cases against the government would be dropped.

The document dated November 7, 2016 with reference number: AUGA/NUPF.1/16/FMA was signed by seven leaderships of the ex-workers of the liquidated carriers— Capt. M.O. Wekpe, Chairman of National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) for pilots; Engr. L.O. Animashaun, Chairman of NAAPE (Engineers) and Comrade I.N Wusaini, Chairman of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN).

Others are Comrade Lucky Engbele, Chairman of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE); Comrade Sam Nzene, Chairman, National Union of Pensioners (NUP); Engr. O. Animashaun, Chairman of AUGA and Comrade Sam Nzen, Chairman of NUP.

The document reads in part: “The approval and subsequent payment of supplementary compilation, 33 percent pension increases, outstanding pension arrears and additional 10 years pension pay off to all categories of our members will bring to a close all agitations from the above-mentioned unions.”

Source: Daily Independent.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

Economy

Unlisted Securities Market Gets 0.34% Boost Thursday

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Unlisted Securities Market

By Adedapo Adesanya

Amid an increase in trading value and volume, the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange ended in the positive territory on Thursday, January 26, as it shot up by 0.34 per cent.

This was buoyed by the increase in the share price of Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Plc by 50 Kobo to N13.00 per unit from N12.50 per unit, and the surge in the price of FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc by 30 Kobo to N62.48 per unit from the preceding session’s N62.18 per unit.

This jerked the total value of the unlisted securities market by N3.09 billion to close at N923.76 billion versus N920.67 billion of the previous day, as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) increased by 2.36 points to settle at 703.01 points, in contrast to the midweek’s 700.66 points.

During the session, market participants executed eight deals at the bourse, 68 per cent lower than the 25 deals executed a day earlier.

However, the value of transactions increased during the session by 41.3 per cent to N4.9 million from N3.5 million, and the volume of trades jumped by 52.4 per cent to 189,670 units from the 121,494 units published on Wednesday.

At the close of business, Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis, with the sale of 61.1 million units worth N49.2 million. UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 29.7 million units valued at N21.1 million, while NASD Plc was in third place with 944,112 units valued at N13.6 million.

Also, VFD Group Plc maintained its position as the most active stock by value on a year-to-date basis, with 422,074 units sold for N103.0 million, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Group Plc was in second place with 899,657 units valued at N59.1 million, while Geo-Fluids Plc was in third place for trading 61.1 million units for N49.2 million.

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Economy

Naira Crashes at Parallel Market, Gains at Official Market

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Parallel Market

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira crashed against the United States Dollar at the parallel market on Thursday by N4 or 0.54 per cent to trade at N752/$1, in contrast to Wednesday’s rate of N748/$1.

However, in the official market, which is the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window, the Nigerian currency appreciated against the greenback yesterday by 45 Kobo or 0.1 per cent to quote at N461.25/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N461.70/$1.

A 58.9 per cent or $64.66 million decrease in the value of forex turnover in the spot market helped the local currency close stronger during the session. Data from FMDQ Securities Exchange showed that FX trades worth $45.16 million were carried out compared with the $109.82 million executed in the previous trading day.

Also, in the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) segment of the FX market, the domestic currency gained N2 against the American Dollar to sell at N764/$1 versus Wednesday’s N766/$1.

However, in the interbank segment, the Naira lost 24 Kobo against the British Pound Sterling to close at N567.21/£1 compared with the previous N567.45/£1, and depreciated by 20 Kobo against the Euro to quote at N500.73/€1, in contrast to N500.53/€1.

Meanwhile, most of the tokens monitored by Business Post in the crypto market depreciated in value at the close of transactions on Thursday, with Litecoin (LTC) shedding 1.6 per cent to trade at $87.48.

Further, Ripple (XRP) depreciated by 1.4 per cent to sell at $0.4109, Binance Coin (BNB) lost 0.4 per cent to quote at $305.07, Dogecoin (DOGE) dropped 0.2 per cent to finish at $0.0862, and Bitcoin (BTC) declined by 0.01 per cent to sell at $23,044.70.

Conversely, Cardano (ADA) appreciated yesterday by 2.8 per cent to settle at $0.3808, Ethereum (ETH) rose by 0.6 per cent to sell at $1,604.89, and Solana added a 0.02 per cent to its value to close at $24.36.

but the prices of the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) remained unchanged at the close of trades at $1.00, respectively.

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Economy

Stock Market Rebounds by 0.29% as GTCO, Others Enjoy Patronage

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stock market bull

By Dipo Olowookere

A 0.29 per cent growth was recorded by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Thursday on the back of renewed demand for stocks after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) aggressively cut down the stop rate of treasury bills on Wednesday.

The disappointment resulted in investors looking for alternative investment instruments, and equities were the next point of call.

In the previous two trading sessions, the stock market was down, but it rebounded yesterday on the back of a fresh bargain-hunting, which consequently pushed the All-Share Index (ASI) higher by 153.31 points to 52,752.96 points from 52,599.65 points, and the market capitalisation increased by N83 billion to N28.733 trillion from N28.650 trillion.

According to data from the NGX, the banking and energy sectors appreciated by 1.58 per cent each, the insurance space rose by 1.01 per cent, and the consumer goods counter grew by 0.05 per cent, while the industrial goods index depreciated by 0.01 per cent.

During the session, investors traded 139.7 million shares worth N2.0 billion in 3,549 deals compared with the 119.8 million shares valued at N2.7 billion traded in 3,552 deals, indicating an increase in the trading volume by 16.61 per cent, a decline in the trading value by 25.93 per cent, and a drop in the number of deals by 0.08 per cent.

GTCO emerged as the most traded equity yesterday with the sale of 17.8 million units, followed by Access Holdings, which transacted 15.4 million units. Fidelity Bank exchanged 11.9 million shares, Mutual Benefits sold 6.9 million equities, and Dangote Sugar traded 6.7 million stocks.

The market breadth was positive on Thursday, with 25 price gainers and seven price losers, indicating a very strong investor sentiment.

Geregu Power gained 10.00 per cent to trade at N147.40, Coronation Insurance appreciated by 9.76 per cent to 45 Kobo, Chellarams improved by 9.70 per cent to N1.81, International Energy Insurance grew by 9.43 per cent to 58 Kobo, and Tripple Gee jumped by 9.09 per cent to 96 Kobo.

On the flip side, RT Briscoe lost 9.09 per cent to settle at 30 Kobo, Royal Exchange dropped 8.24 per cent to sell at 78 Kobo, Courteville depreciated by 7.84 per cent to 47 Kobo, Linkage Assurance fell by 4.00 per cent to 48 Kobo, and Transcorp shed 0.82 per cent to N1.21.

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