09 Feb

Daily Watch – Labour goes on the offensive, Cash crunch threatens port concession agreements

  • The Nigeria Labour Congress across Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to reverse the new Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO2015) which took off February 1. Making good their threat to embark on protests, the NLC and its civil society allies picketed many electricity distribution companies all over the country. Protests were recorded in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ibadan, Enugu, Maiduguri, Owerri, and Port Harcourt, paralysing activities at distribution companies in those cities.
  • Meanwhile, the NLC has asked residents of Imo state to stock-pile foodstuff and prepare for a long battle to force the government to yield to labour demands. Igwe Achese, the president of NUPENG, and a member of the committee on Imo set up by leaders of the two factions of the NLC, insisted that the planned industrial action would both cripple the government in Imo State, and help it understand and appreciate the principles of respect for the moral and legal rights of her workers and citizens.
  • Armed men have blown up a gas facility in Akala Olu, Ahoada West LGA, Rivers State over the arrest and continued detention of a suspect, Emmanuel Odum. Odum was detained over pipeline vandalism and cult-related activities. The attack on the gas facility disrupted production activities of the Nigeria Agip Oil Company. The vandals threatened to carry out further attacks on oil and gas installations unless their demands were met.
  • The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said that the ministry has completed a review of its mining licenses and will publish the results next week. Fayemi, had last year said that in its bid to diversify the economy, the Federal Government has expressed readiness to invoke the extant laws on illegal miners in bringing them to justice. He added that an amnesty period for companies to comply would not be extended beyond March 1 as the country was looking to reduce its over dependence on oil.
  • The low volume of import and export activities in the maritime sector, which has created a shortage of cash in the industry, is threatening the port concession agreements valued at $6.5 billion. This is especially so for port terminal operators who are required by the agreement to pay their fees to the Nigeria Ports Authority in dollars. Last week, the NPA had in a public notice, demanded that all lessees should settle their rental obligations within four weeks from the date of the publication. It warned that failure to comply within the stipulated period would be viewed as a breach of the lease agreement, which could lead to its termination.