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REVEALED: Real Reasons for Delay in Payment of Ex-Nigeria Airways Workers

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REVEALED: Real Reasons for Delay in Payment of Ex-Nigeria Airways Workers

REVEALED: Real Reasons for Delay in Payment of Ex-Nigeria Airways Workers

By Olusegun Koiki

Daily Independent newspaper has unearthed the real reasons former workers of the defunct Nigerian Airways are yet to receive the severance package despite President Muhammadu giving the approval for the payment.

It was gathered that the conflict between the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) and the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), a department under the Ministry of Finance, is stalling final payment of severance benefit to ex-workers of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways.

Independent learnt that the conflict between the two government bodies is as a result of who gets the administrative charge from the severance package of the ex-workers.

Recommendations

The inter-ministerial committee raised by the government verified the status of ex-workers of Nigeria Airways and came up with N78 billion benefit for the former staff of the airline.  The committee recommended one percent administrative charge of the total sum to be given to any government agency that disburses the money to the ex-workers. This amounted to N735 million.

In its recommendation, the inter-ministerial committee also said that the OAGF should disburse the N78 billion to all the beneficiaries.

However, PICA in its own recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari reduced the total benefit to N43 billion, but increased the administrative charge to N2.1 billion without recourse to any percentage as recommended by the inter-ministerial committee.

Breakdown Of Benefit

A document seen by Independent revealed the breakdown of the N78 billion benefit thus: serving staff, N20.9 billion; presidential fleet, N1.4 billion; Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL), N4 billion; retired staff from SAHCOL, N207.7 million; properties, N1 billion and catering, N1.1 billion.

Others are pensioners, N37.3 million; deferred pensioners, N920.5 million; 1988 Group, N6.4 billion; one percent administrative charge, N735 million; one percent mark-up contingencies, N735 million; salary of four retained staff working on the benefit for 12 months, N10.5 million; office running cost at N100,000 monthly for 12 months, N1.2 million and supplementary at N3 billion.

Interest In Administrative Charge

A reliable source told Independent that PICA, which was set up by President Buhari in 2015, few months after coming into office to carry out final verification of any payment by the Federal Government suddenly became interested in payment of the severance package to the former workers of the airline because of the administrative charge involved.

The document revealed that the inter-ministerial committee 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.

The workers had initially insisted on another 20 years payment of severance package as agreed with the Federal Government in 2009 before the payment of five years of severance package to them by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2009.

PICA in its recommendation to the government slashed the sum to just N43 billion, and expunged the 10 years pension arrears as agreed with the former workers and their unions by the inter-ministerial committee.

Anger

However, sources said the reduction of a massive N35 billion from the recommended and approved N78 billion by the inter-ministerial committee did not go down well with the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who insisted that the earlier approved sum must be paid.

A source close to the committee confided in our correspondent that the Federal Government was ready to pay the total sum to the ex-workers who have lost at least 700 of their members since the airline was liquidated in 2013 to avoidable deaths, but PICA is a stumbling block to that payment, which has further put the government in a dilemma.

The source wondered how PICA arrived at the N2.1 billion administrative charge after reducing the total sum to be paid to the ex-workers to N43 billion which represented 45 percent reduction.

“PICA is the only body that is standing between the payment of the final severance package to us and the government. President Buhari has agreed to pay the total sum to us until everything was taken to PICA for final verification.

“PICA without following due process, suddenly reduced our total benefit to just N43 billion, but ironically increased its own administrative charge to N2.1 billion, which is a difference of N1.3 billion. And the government thinks they can come up with a national carrier without first settling us, I think that will be practically impossible.

“Several bodies are ready to take the government to court even outside the country. I can assure you that anywhere their aircraft flies to such an aircraft would be impounded until all debts are settled. We are talking of ex-workers in Europe and several other African countries. Some of them are already in court to ensure their payments. PICA is not helping matters and may make the case worse for impending investors.”

It would be recalled that apart from the Nigerian staff of the airline who are owed pension arrears, outstations like those in Rome, Saudi Arabia, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Dubai and all the French speaking countries in Africa are also yet to benefit from the severance package.

Only staff of the airline in United Kingdom and United States were paid their entitlement of 25 years severance package in full.

The total sum of N29.1 billion, which represented five years severance package was paid to the former workers of the airline by the late Yar’Adua in 2009 after years of agitation by the ex-workers.

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

Employment Growth Quickens Amid Efforts to Deal With Workloads

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Manufacturing Activities PMI

The Nigerian private sector registered a slight loss of growth momentum in January, with output and new business rising further markedly, though at softer rates than at the end of 2022.

On a more positive note, firms raised employment at the fastest pace since June 2018 as part of efforts to complete work on time.

On the price front, rates of inflation of input costs and output prices softened in January but remained elevated.

Analysis by Stanbic IBTC Bank showed that the headline figure derived from the survey is the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI®).

Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions in the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration. The headline PMI dipped to 53.5 in January from 54.6 in December. Although still signalling a solid monthly strengthening of the private sector and the thirty-first in consecutive months, the rate of improvement was the softest since August 2022.

Business activity increased at a much slower pace at the start of the year, despite the rate of growth remaining marked. The latest rise was the weakest in five months. Demand continued to improve, but some firms reported a moderation in customer numbers.

Activity increased across each of the four broad sectors covered by the survey. The rate of expansion in new business also softened in January but remained sharp nonetheless, again reflecting higher demand from customers.

A desire to try and complete projects on time led companies to ramp up their hiring activities at the start of the year. Employment increased at a solid pace that was the fastest since June 2018.

Despite expanded staffing levels, backlogs of work increased for the first time in three months. Firms reported having been hindered by issues with machinery and power supply.

Higher workloads and positive expectations regarding the outlook for activity led companies to expand their purchasing activity sharply again, with the rate of growth unchanged from December. In turn, stocks of purchases also rose further. Efforts to secure inputs were helped by improving supplier performance.

Competition among vendors, quiet road conditions and prompt payments all contributed to a shortening of delivery times, one that was the most pronounced in four months. The rate of input cost inflation softened for the second month running in January, and was at a one-year low.

The slowdown in overall cost inflation largely reflected a softer rise in purchase prices, albeit one that was still substantial. Purchase costs increased on the back of rising fuel and raw material costs, exacerbated by currency weakness.

Meanwhile, staff costs rose at the fastest pace in 11 months as companies increased pay in line with higher living costs. Output price inflation also remained elevated as higher cost burdens were passed on to customers.

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Economy

NASD OTC Market Appreciates by 0.95%

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NASD Market capitalisation

By Adedapo Adesanya

The duo of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc buoyed the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange by 0.95 per cent on Thursday, February 2.

They lifted the market capitalisation of the bourse by N8.80 billion to settle at N940.51 billion compared with the previous day’s N931.71 billion. They also raised the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) by 6.70 points to wrap the session at 715.76 points compared with 709.06 points recorded in the previous session.

During the session, the price of FrieslandCampina went up by N3.23 to settle at N68.06 per unit, in contrast to the previous day’s N64.83 per unit, while CSCS Plc appreciated by 50 Kobo to sell at N13.50 per share compared with the preceding session’s N13 per share.

The volume of transacted stocks decreased by 4.3 per cent to 261,439 units from the 273,038 units traded in the preceding session. However, the value of shares traded went higher by 38.9 per cent to N15.7 million from N11.3 million, while the number of deals recorded an improvement, as it grew by 300 per cent to 20 deals from five deals on Tuesday.

Business Post reports that there was no price loser at the session.

Geo-Fluids finished the day as the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 321.2 million units worth N317.2 million, UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 35.8 million units valued at N25.8 million, while FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc was in third place with 2.4 million units valued at N159.4 million.

Geo-Fluids Plc also maintained its summit position as the most active stock by value on a year-to-date basis, with 321.2 million units sold for N317.2 million, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Group Plc was in second place with 2.4 million units valued at N159.4 million, while VFD Group Plc was in third place for trading 561,810 units for N137.0 million.

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Economy

Continuous Bargain Hunting Leaves Local Stock Exchange Higher by 0.93%

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Local Stock Exchange

By Dipo Olowookere

The local stock exchange closed higher by 0.93 per cent on Thursday amid continuous bargain hunting by investors, who are digesting a flurry of full-year corporate earnings.

It was observed that the growth reported during the session was strongly influenced by buying pressure in the energy sector, which rose by 5.17 per cent on the back of gains posted by Seplat, MRS Oil and others.

The banking and insurance counters depreciated on Thursday by 0.44 per cent and 0.39 per cent, respectively, as the consumer goods and the industrial goods sectors closed flat.

At the close of trades, the All-Share Index (ASI) of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited increased by 498.44 points to 53,998.12 points from 53,499.68 points, and the market capitalisation grew by N271 billion to close at N29.411 trillion compared with the midweek session’s N29.140 trillion.

MRS Oil topped the gainers’ chart after it gained 10.00 per cent to finish at N17.60, Northern Nigerian Flour Mills appreciated by 9.88 per cent to N8.90, International Energy Insurance rose by 9.76 per cent to 90 Kobo, Seplat went up by 9.50 per cent to N1,325.00, and Cornerstone Insurance improved by 9.09 per cent to 60 Kobo.

On the flip side, Sunu Assurances topped the losers’ log after it lost 8.11 per cent to trade at 34 Kobo, Mutual Benefits fell by 7.69 per cent to 36 Kobo, Linkage Assurance dropped by 6.25 per cent to 45 Kobo, Veritas Kapital declined by 4.76 per cent to 20 Kobo, and PZ Cussons depleted by 4.65 per cent to N10.25.

Business Post reports that the market breadth was positive as there were 27 price gainers and 12 price losers, indicating a strong investor sentiment.

Investors transacted 2.9 billion shares worth N8.1 billion in 3,940 deals, in contrast to the 200.4 million shares worth N5.5 billion transacted in 3,716 deals on Wednesday, showing an increase in the trading volume, value and the number of deals by1,331.88 per cent, 47.27 per cent, and 6.03 per cent, respectively.

Universal Insurance traded 2.7 billion shares due to an off-market deal to close as the most active stock and was followed by AIICO Insurance, which sold 14.0 million stocks, GTCO transacted 13.9 million equities, Sterling Bank exchanged 10.3 million stocks, and Fidelity Bank traded 9.9 million equities.

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