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It’ll Be Difficult For Tinubu Govt To Pay N100k Minimum Wage as 26 State Govs Can’t Pay Current N33k — Presidency

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President Bola Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information & Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, has claimed that it would be difficult for the Nigerian government to peg the new proposed minimum wage at N100,000.

Onanuga, who stated this on Monday night during an Arise TV interview stated that the country’s current financial strength indicated that both the federal and state governments would be unable to pay their employees’ salaries if N100,000 or more was eventually approved as the new minimum wage in the country.

The presidential aide buttressed his assertion with the fact that most state governors were even currently struggling to pay the present minimum wage.

He said, “Let me tell you the last time it was done under President Buhari when the wage was increased to N30,000 per month. Till today, 26 state governments could not pay it, out of 36, Only 10 are paying.

“The rest have not paid the whole rate or maybe they’ve just improved a bit. But mostly, according to the people who have monitored it, 26 state governments are unable to comply. Whatever the government wants to do now, even if we increase wages to 100,000 naira. Will the Federal Government be able to pay?

“When you look at the financial position of the governments. Look at the last budget. Look at what the government inherited. Low revenue. Very high domestic and foreign debt. Repayment of a debt consuming, according to Buhari Budget, 97% of our revenue. This country was already broke. Having removed the subsidy, the government is hoping that the pressure on our finances will reduce and it is already reducing. If you look at the budget, the deficit is going to be about N6trillion compared to N14trillion that the Buhari government had planned for 2023.”

Meanwhile, Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress said that organised labour might demand up to N1million as the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers if the rising inflation remains unchecked.

Ajaero had said the demand of the organised labour would be determined by the cost of living which has skyrocketed since President Bola Tinubu came to power following the removal of fuel subsidy and other policies.

The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had also last Thursday issued a 14-day strike notice to the Nigerian government.

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Another good Nigerian pilgrim returns lost €1,750 pounds in Hajj

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Another good Nigerian pilgrim, Muhammad Na’Allah from Gumi Local Government Area of Zamfara state has returned the sum of €1,750 (One thousand seven hundred and fifty euros) which he found at the Haram in Makkah to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for onward delivery to the owner

Gumi, was accompanied to the Hajj Commission office in Ummuljud, Makkah by officials of the Zamfara State Pilgrims Welfare Board.

Receiving the Money, the Chairman/CEO of NAHCON, Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi praised the Pilgrim, saying the gesture symbolizes the name of the Pilgrim “Na’Allah” which demonstrated the Pilgrim’s closeness to Allah.

“This shows his pilgrimage has positively impacted his personal character, behavior and attitude,” he said.

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NIN: World Bank Disburses $45.5m For Nigeria’s ID4D Project

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The World Bank said it has disbursed a total of $45.5m to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) under the Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project.

According to the ‘Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project’ report published by the bank on its website, the project is aimed at enrolling more Nigerians for the National Identification Number (NIN).

According to the apex bank, Nigeria was able to secure the funding with the passing into law of the Nigerian Protection Act in June last year.

The fund was disbursed in multiple tranches between December 2021 and April 2024 and disbursement is still ongoing.

The $45m so far released represents about 10.5 per cent of the total project’s cost, which is put at $430m.

While the June 1, 2024 deadline set for the enrollment of 148 million Nigerians for the NIN has passed and Nigeria is still lagging, the Bank described the progress of the project so far as ‘moderately satisfactory’. NIMC recently disclosed that 107.3 million NIN had been issued as of April this year.

The release of funds for the project which comprises a combination of loans and grants, was predicated on the institutionalisation of data protection.

The development comes on the hills of a recent warning by the NIMC to Nigerians, against the activities of some unauthorised websites harvesting people’s data

The websites are idfinder.com.ng, Verify.ng, championtech.com.ng, trustyonline.com, and anyverify.com.

On June 20, Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise, raised alarm over its discovery of the sale of NINs, bank verification numbers (BVNs), and other personal data of Nigerians on a website for as low as N100.

According to the organisation, a website known as ‘AnyVerify.com.ng’ was discovered to be involved in the commercial distribution of personal and private data of Nigerians.

Paradigm Initiative added that several unauthorised websites are claiming to hold and provide access to sensitive personal and financial data of Nigerian citizens “for as little as 100 Naira”.

“This alarming development presents a major breach of the fundamental rights to privacy, a breach of data privacy rights, and poses significant risks to individuals and the national economy,” the firm said.

Reacting to the report, the commission said AnyVerify.com.ng and other aforementioned websites, are data harvesters and unauthorised to access or manage sensitive data.

The agency also denied the exposure of sensitive data of Nigerians “as alleged and reported”.

“The commission, at this moment, assures the public that the data of Nigerians has not been compromised, and the Commission have not authorised any website or entity to sell or misuse the National Identification Number (NIN) amongst all the identities stated in the report,” NIMC said.

“NIMC urges the public to disregard any claims or services these websites offer and should not give their data as they are potentially fraudulent and data provided by the public on such websites are gathered and stored to build the data services they illegally provide.

“Consequently, the public should know that the commission has taken robust measures to safeguard the nation’s database from cyber threats- a secure, world-class, full-proof database is in place.

“The commission’s infrastructure meets the stringent ISO 27001:2013 information security management system standard, with annual recertification and strict compliance with the Nigerian Data Protection Law.”

NIMC also advised Nigerians to avoid giving their data to unauthorised and phishing sites, stressing that licensed partners or vendors are not authorised to scan or store NIN slips but to verify them through approved channels.

“This poses the danger of data harvesting and comprises individual data,” the commission added.

“The Commission reaffirms its commitment to upholding ethical standards in data protection in line with federal government directives and data privacy regulations.

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CBN Issues IMTOs Naira Access To Boost Remittances

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Monday, issued new measures it is currently putting in place, to boost naira liquidity and raise diaspora remittances.

According to its latest circular, the apex bank said eligible International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), will now have access to naira liquidity through the bank’s window. This initiative is designed to widen access to local currency liquidity, ensuring smoother and more efficient settlement processes for remittances, the CBN said.

Signed by W. J. Kanya, acting director of the trade and exchange department at the CBN, said transactions executed before noon on a trading date will be settled on the same day.

According to the circular, all participants are required to submit daily regulatory returns to the CBN. These returns must include all relevant information on the sources of funds.

The key participants in the segment include: IMTOs, authorised dealer banks, and the CBN.

Under the new guidelines, IMTO operators will be able to directly access the CBN window, or do so via their Authorised Dealer Banks (ADBs) to execute foreign exchange transactions in the market. The circular outlines specific compliance measures to ensure the effective operation of the initiative.

It also said pricing on the CBN portal will mirror the NAFEX traded rates, which are based on an acceptable market benchmark.

The operation of the segment will follow the existing arrangements in place for authorised dealers involved with foreign portfolio investment in primary market securities auctions.

The circular emphasised that these measures are effective immediately, highlighting the bank’s commitment to maintaining the smooth functioning of the foreign exchange market and improving formal remittance channels.

The decision is expected to significantly improve the liquidity of local currency for diaspora remittances, thereby enhancing the overall efficiency and reliability of the foreign exchange market in the country.

The CBN has focused on increasing remittances and naira liquidity.

This is as in May 2024, the bank granted 14 IMTOs an approval-in-principle (AIP) in an effort to double foreign-currency remittance inflows through formal channels.

“This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira,” said Hakama Sidi Ali, CBN’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, while announcing the new plan in a statement.

The CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, had recently disclosed the apex bank’s target to double remittance flows into Nigeria within a year, which he firmly believed was possible.

He said, “We are wasting no time driving progress to remove any bottlenecks hindering flows through formal channels permanently. We have a determined pathway and a sequenced approach to tackling all challenges ahead, working hand in hand with key stakeholders in the remittance industry.”

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