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N30,000 ‘neither realistic nor sustainable,’ Governors insist

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The N30,000 minimum wage demand of labour unions is “neither realistic nor sustainable,” the Nigeria Governors Forum has said.

Instead, the NGF said, states should pay a minimum wage of N22,500 but any governor who can pay more than this is free to do so.

The forum also said insinuations by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that its members were unwilling to pay N30,000 minimum wage were untrue. It said its members were willing but unable to meet the demand of the workers’ union.

The NGF said a report titled “Minimum Wage: NLC wants governors who diverted bailouts probed” is an attempt by the leadership of the NLC to steer the public away from the promise by President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute another committee to review the minimum wage impasse.

The Head, Media and Public Affairs of NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, disclosed this in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Monday evening.

The NLC has been at loggerheads with the federal government over a new minimum wage.

The NLC and other unions are demanding N30,000 as minimum wage up from the current N18,000.

President Buhari has however refused to commit to the new proposal.

Instead, the president said during his budget presentation speech on Wednesday that he would set up a technical committee to review the N30,000 proposed by a tripartite committee earlier set up by the federal government.

State governments have also said they would not be able to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.

The NLC said it would not partake in any further negotiation of the N30,000 and that all the president needs to do is send a bill to parliament for a N30,000 minimum wage.

The labour congress, a registered coalition of many workers’ unions, also said it will hold a one-day protest against the president’s action on January 8, 2019.

But Mr Bello-Barkindo in the statement said the governors have collectively said they would have been happy to pay workers the N30, 000 “but many states cannot afford it due to financial constraints and other limitations.”

He said the governors had earlier announced that no state would devote more than 50 per cent of its revenue to salaries.

“Let it be known that governors have met the President twice on this matter and presented their books to buttress their point,” he said. “First, a batch of state governors, led by the NGF Chairman, Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar of Zamfara State, in company of Govs Ambode of Lagos, Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Bagudu of Kebbi attended a closed-door meeting with the president where the financial standing of six states, one each from all the geopolitical regions in the country, were shown to the president.”

According to him, on the president’s request, all the states forwarded their books, revenues, both internally generated and their earnings from the federation account along with their other sources of revenue, “for examination and the president appears satisfied with the governors’ position, thus the decision to set up a new committee”.

Mr Bello-Barkindo said there has never been a time in the country when states have embarked on a more aggressive revenue drive than they are doing today.

“And this is without exception or prejudice to any state,” he added.

“The president at his last meeting with governors (December 15, 2018) had admonished them (governors) to expect harsher economic tides from New Year’s, thus validating governors’ fears that even those states that had hitherto looked comfortable financially, may in the course of the new year, falter,” he said.

He said governors are not under any obligation, by law, to show their books to the NLC.

“But they have, with a view to letting NLC know that what they are asking for is neither realistic nor sustainable.

“Yet, NLC remains adamant that its will must be done, or the heavens will fall. Already, revenue to states has dropped drastically while demands by competing needs keep rising astronomically. Last year alone, revenue to states dropped from N800 billion when the Tripartite Committee was appointed (November 2017) to between N500 billion and N600 billion by the time Ms Amma Pepple submitted its report in October 2018,” he said.

He also said it will be difficult for state governors to dedicate their states’ entire resources to workers’ salaries alone, “knowing that they constitute less than 5 per cent of the nation’s population”.

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Nigerians ‘spent N3 billion in cinemas for first half of 2019’

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Nigerians spent nearly 3, 124, 026, 959 billion Naira to watch box office movies at Nigerian cinemas between January and June.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the figures are according to data provided by cinemas and gathered by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN).

The year opened with ‘Aquaman’, ‘Chief Daddy’ and ‘Up North’ sitting on the top three of the chart, with estimated combined earnings of 168, 263, 512 million Naira.

The movies maintained their positions until the fourth week when ‘Glass’ debuted at number one with ‘Aquaman’ taking second place and ‘Chief Daddy’, third booting ‘Up North’ to fourth place.

This led to combined earnings of 91, 409, 100 million Naira which fell to N77.2 million as January closed with Kevin Hart’s ‘The Upside’ kicking ‘Chief Daddy’ to fourth place.

NAN reports that earnings remained low for February, making it the lowest grossing month with a total of N291.8 million.

Top spots were alternated between ‘Alita’, ‘Cold Pursuit’, ‘What Men Want’, ‘Escape Room’ and ‘The UpSide’.

By March, viewership picked up steadily and the earnings were almost doubled from that of February leading to a total of 434, 432, 431 million Naira.

‘What Men Want’, ‘Alita’, ‘Hire A Woman’, ‘She Is’, ‘Us’ and ‘Babymamas’ enjoyed a relatively good run in March but a chunk of the earnings and viewership went to Marvel’s flick ‘Captain Marvel’.

At the beginning of April, ‘HellBoy’, ‘Shazam’, ‘Little’ and ‘Us’ continued to share the top spot with ‘Captain Marvel’ until the release of the much anticipated ‘Avengers: Endgame’.

NAN also reports that with ‘Avengers: Endgame’, earnings from April climbed from 186, 929, 188 million Naira in its third week to 342, 382, 389 million Naira in its final week.’

The month, which is the highest grossing in 2019, closed with estimated total earnings of 734, 151, 060 million Naira due to (a) major boost from Disney’s ‘Endgame’.

In May, there was a massive dip in earnings similar to that experienced in February. With ‘Endgame’, ‘The Intruder’ and ‘Longshot’, it earned a total of 367, 498, 554 million Naira.

The fall in viewership is usual after a global holiday such as Christmas for December/January and Easter for April.

The numbers picked up in June with ‘John Wick’, ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Aladdin’ leading the numbers. They were supported by ‘Anna’, ‘Men In Black’, ‘Dark Phoenix’ and ‘Bling Lagosians’.

June opened with 161, 132, 714 million Naira but closed with 100, 663, 647 million Naira leading to a total earning of 576, 322, 779 million Naira.

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Go Cashless This Summer With FirstBank Visa Multi Currency Card

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, has introduced the Visa Multi Currency Card, an All-in One-Card and first of its kind to be offered by any financial institution in Nigeria. This card can be linked to all of four currencies namely: NAIRA, USD, EURO and GBP accounts.

With the Visa Multi-Currency card, FirstBank customers – within and outside Nigeria – can now enjoy the luxury of having their local and foreign denominated accounts in any currency, linked to a single Debit card. The Visa Multi-Currency Card is designed to ease the daily cashless transactional needs of customers regardless of where they are across the world. 

Amongst the many benefits of the Visa Multi-Currency card are Point of Sale and Online purchases, access to and use of ATMs worldwide. There is no cash collateral requirement prior to its issuance.

Speaking on the card launch, Mr. Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Product said “FirstBank takes pride in pioneering the Visa Multi Currency Card in the country, as we remain committed to providing products and services that are designed to ensure the banking convenience of our customers regardless of their location.”

“This card is designed to make traveling fun for our customers and ensure they have a seamless transaction experience during their vacation, tourism and other business-related trips around the globe”, he concluded. 

Traveling abroad for summer, walk into any FirstBank branch today for your Visa Multi Currency Card.

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NSE Suspends Airtel Africa Listing

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The planned listing of Airtel Africa Plc on the trading floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has been postponed.

The exercise was suspended as a result of the failure of the telecommunications company to meet pre-listing requirements.

Yesterday, Business Post reported that Airtel Africa failed to attract at least 300 institutional and high-net worth individual investors, one of the major requirements needed for joining the stock exchange.

The NSE, which confirmed suspension of the listing today, however, did not make it clear when the company would be admitted. It only promised to provide further communication on the issue when all the conditions for the listing in its market had been met.

“The cross border secondary listing of 3,758,151,504 ordinary shares of Airtel Africa Plc has been postponed from the scheduled date of Friday, July 5, 2019.

“This postponement was necessitated by the need to ensure that the company meets all the post NSE approval pre-requisites for listing on the NSE.

“However, the facts before the listing event will hold as planned at 11.00 a.m. on Friday, July 5, 2019,” the statement said.

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