By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The panel set up by the Federal Government to look into the issue of minimum wage in the country has submitted its report.
Chairman of the Technical Committee on Minimum Wage and Palliatives, Mr Chris Ngige, who doubles as the Minister of Labour and Employment, stated that his team came up with an all-encompassing recommendations in the areas of salaries, allowances, promotions and pensions both at the state and federal levels; affordable housing and transport to help out suffering workers of Nigeria.
While presenting the report to the main Committee on Minimum Wage and Palliatives headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir David Lawal, the Minister said the welfare of Nigerian workers was paramount to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He noted that the minimum wage was last reviewed in 2010 and signed into law in 2011 under the previous administration of President Jonathan, adding that the current exercise was in compliance to a five –year constitutional provision on minimum wage review.
Mr Ngige said further that the submissions of his committee were in two volumes comprising the Minimum Wage and the Palliatives.
“We have no problem in tackling the issue of the minimum wage. We recommended a 29-man Minimum Wage Committee to be chaired by a reputable Nigerian, who will be neutral and non-partisan, with labour and civil service experience so that the person would be on a familiar turf,” the Minister recommended in his report.
He also said there would be a secretary with the secretariat of the committee to be domiciled at the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission.
Eight persons are expected to represent each of the following; the Federal Government, the organized labour, organized private sector and three members representing the state government to be drawn from the Governors Forum, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors Forum and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum.
On palliatives, the Minister said the committee identified dwindling economic fortunes of the Federal Government as the major problem having taken submissions from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Budget and Planning as well as the Ministry of Finance.
“We also looked at the mass transit scheme. And in housing, we recommended that government through its ministries and agencies should give more support for mass housing for civil servants by invigorating the Federal Mortgage Bank, as well as assisting the housing schemes being undertaken by the labour unions and further support workers to venture into agriculture,” Mr Ngige said.
In his remark, the SFG thanked the technical committee especially the organized labour for their cooperation and input into the report and restated the commitment of the Federal Government to study and take it to fruition.
“We have to work hard and diligently too, to conclude our report and make a submission to government because I know that this government is favourably disposed to the improved welfare of Nigerians as a whole.
“We should take the opportunity of this disposition to conclude our report and send it to the President for consideration,” he said.
In May 2016, the Federal Government effected an upward review of the pump price of premium motor spirit to between N143 to N145 and on May 17, set up a committee comprising labour and government to seek out palliatives to cushion the effects of the pump price increase as well as look into the review of the minimum wage which is a constitutional matter.
Unlisted Securities Depreciate by 0.41% Friday
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the bearish zone on Friday, January 21 after back-to-back stalemates as it depreciated by 0.41 per cent, driven by the negative price movement in Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Plc.
CSCS Plc closed at N19.38 per unit after moving down by 57 kobo or 2.7 per cent from its previous day’s value of N19.90.
The depreciation in this stock weakened the market capitalisation by N2.6 billion to N630.46 billion from N633.06 billion and slowed the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) by 3.07 points to wrap the session at 744.54 points compared with 747.61 points of the previous session.
However, there was a surge in the volume of securities traded at the bourse as investors exchanged 4.1 million units, 103,160 per cent higher than the 4,000 units of securities transacted a day earlier.
Likewise, the value of shares traded at the session swelled to N86.9 million, which by evaluation is 11,227.6 per cent higher than N767,100 posted on Thursday.
These transactions were carried out in eight deals, 300 per cent higher than the two deals carried out at the preceding trading session.
Business Post reports that the unlisted securities market wrapped the day without a price gainer.
At the close of trading, the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis was CSCS Plc with 653.6 million units worth N13.7 billion, VFD Group Plc followed with 916,161 units valued at N331.5 million, while Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc has traded 205,566 units of its stocks valued at N24.3 million.
Also, CSCS ended the trading session as the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with the sale of 653.6 million units of its securities valued at N13.7 billion, followed by VFD Group Plc with a turnover of 916,161 units worth N331.5 million, while Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc has transacted 205,566 units of its stocks valued at N24.3 million.
Naira Falls at I&E as Bears Wipe $1trn from Crypto Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira recorded a 37 kobo or 0.09 per cent loss against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (forex) market as it traded at N415.10/$1 compared with N414.73/$1 it was traded on Thursday.
It was observed that the Naira came under pressure during the trading session with the value of transactions rising by 56.2 per cent or $60.7 million at the market window to $168.62 million from the preceding day’s $107.92 million.
In the same vein, the local currency depreciated against the American currency at the interbank segment of the market yesterday by 5 kobo or 0.1 per cent to N411.95/$1 from the previous day’s N411.90/$1.
However, the local currency lost 60 kobo against the Pound Sterling to trade at N552.75/£1 in contrast to N553.35/£1 it closed on Thursday and against the Euro, it depreciated by N2.64 to N448.79/€1 from N446.15/€1.
In a related development, the crypto market bled yesterday, with the Federal Reserve intending to withdraw stimulus from the market, riskier assets in the world such as the assets have suffered from over $1 trillion lost in market capitalisation so far.
Russia also added to the fear that seems to be gripping cryptocurrencies as the country’s central bank issued a harsh report on cryptocurrencies, including a potential ban on mining and trading.
Bitcoin (BTC), the largest digital asset, lost more than 9 per cent on Friday and dropped below $36,000, its lowest level since July.
Since its peak in November, it has lost over 45 per cent of its value as it traded at the Naira equivalent of N20,376,819.45.
Other digital currencies have suffered just as much, if not more, with Dash (DASH) plunging 19.7 per cent to trade at N57,825.35, Litecoin (LTC) moved down by 15.9 per cent to trade at N61,392.61, while Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a 15.6 per cent to trade at N152,054.69.
Cardano (ADA) went south by 13.1 per cent to trade at N650, Ripple (XRP) fell by 13.0 per cent to trade at N350.32, Dogecoin (DOGE) declined by 11.3 per cent to sell at N84.80, Tron (TRX) depreciated by 5.9 per cent to N35.99, Ethereum (ETH) made a 5.0 per cent loss to sell at N1,699,900.00, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) made a 0.2 per cent depreciation to sell for N575.01.
Oil Again Falls Under Pressure of US Inventories Rise, Profit Taking
By Adedapo Adesanya
Oil prices closed in the bearish territory on Friday, falling for another session pressured by an unexpected rise in US crude and fuel inventories after investors took profits after the benchmarks touched seven-year highs earlier in the week.
Brent crude dropped 49 cents or 0.55 per cent to trade at $87.89 per barrel while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) lost 41 cents or 0.48 per cent to settle at $85.14 per barrel.
However, both crude benchmarks rose for a fifth week in a row, gaining around 2 per cent this week, showing that prices were up more than 10 per cent so far this year on concerns over tightening supplies.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the first US crude build since November in the week just as fuel inventories hit an 11-month high in the world’s largest oil consumer.
Crude inventories rose by 515,000 barrels in the week to January 14 to 413.8 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations of a 938,000-barrel drop.
Earlier in the week, both Brent and WTI rose to their highest levels since October 2014.
But the latest pullback happened due to a combination of pre-weekend profit-taking and the absence of fresh bullish catalysts.
Analysts also said they expect the current pressure on prices to be limited owing to supply concerns and rising demand.
Tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East are also heightening fears of supply disruption as top US and Russian diplomats made no major breakthrough at talks on Ukraine on Friday.
There was, however, an agreement to keep talking to try to resolve a crisis that has stoked fears of a military conflict.
Amid these, there are forecasts that prices will perform their best in recent times this year due to low spare OPEC+ capacity, low inventories and geopolitical tensions rising.
Analysts at Bank of America said they expect to see Brent at around $120 a barrel in mid-2022.
UBS expects crude oil demand to reach record highs this year and for Brent to trade in a range of $80-$90 a barrel for now.
Morgan Stanley has raised its Brent price forecast to $100 a barrel in the third quarter, up from its previous projection of $90.
Meanwhile, in the United States, energy firms cut oil rigs this week for the first time in 13 weeks.
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