N’Assembly aides demand same pay package with parliamentary staff

Aides to members of the National Assembly, under the auspices of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum , have decried the discrimination in their salaries and allowances while demanding equal treatment with members of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria .

Chairman of NASSLAF , Salisu Zuru , argued that both aides and workers in the National Assembly management are employees of the National Assembly Service Commission .

A statement issued by the Public Relations Officer, NASSLAF, Abdul Lauya , quoted Zuru as stating the demand during a courtesy call on the Chairman of the NASC , Ahmed Amshi .

Zuru was quoted as saying legislative aides are remunerated in accordance with the 2010 Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure instead of the revised 2018 version being enjoyed by members of PASAN .

The NASSLAF leader , therefore, urged the commission to take immediate steps to correct the anomaly.

Amshi , in his response , was quoted to have said legislative aides were employees of the commission and must not be treated otherwise .

Meanwhile , the Clerk to the National Assembly, Olatunde Ojo , has also assured NASSLAF of the payment of statutory entitlements as well as outstanding allowances owed some of its members .

Food price hike, others push inflation to 14.23% —NBS

The hike in food prices and other individual consumption across the country further increased the rate of inflation in Nigeria to 14 .23 per cent in October 2020 .

Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday showed that the country ’s inflation increased again in October, moving up by 0 .52 per cent when compared to what was recorded in the preceding month.

The bureau said , “The Consumer Price Index , which measures inflation increased by 14 .23 per cent ( year -on -year ) in October 2020.

“This is 0 .52 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in September 2020 ( 13 .71 per cent ) .”

It was observed that increases were recorded in all Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose divisions that yielded the headline index.

On a month- on- month basis , the headline index increased by 1 .54 per cent in October 2020, representing 0 .06 per cent rate higher than the rate recorded in September 2020 ( 1. 48 per cent) .

The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12 months period ending October 2020 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12 months period was 12 . 66 per cent.

This showed a 0 .22 per cent point rise from 12 . 44 per cent recorded in September 2020.

The urban inflation rate increased by 14 . 81 per cent ( year – on- year ) in October 2020 from 14 .31 per cent recorded in September 2020 .

Rural inflation rate on the other hand , increased by 13 .68 per cent in October 2020 from 13 . 14 per cent in September 2020.

On a month- on- month basis , the urban index rose by 1 .6 per cent in October 2020 , up by 0. 04 from 1 .56 per cent recorded in September 2020.

The rural index also rose by 1 .48 per cent in October 2020, up by 0 .08 from the rate recorded in September 2020 ( 1 .40 per cent) .

The corresponding 12 -month year -on -year average percentage change for the urban index was 13 .29 per cent in October 2020 .

This was higher than 13 .07 per cent reported in September 2020 , while the corresponding rural inflation rate in October 2020 was 12 .09 per cent compared to 11 .86 per cent recorded in September 2020 .

Nigeria’s constitution needs replacement, not amendment – Olanipekun

Legal icon, Chief Wole Olanipekun , has disagreed with calls in some quarters for the amendment to the country ’s constitution with a view to have a new Nigeria .

Olanipekun said rather , what the constitution needed was “ a total overhaul , a redrafting, a re -crafting and a total replacement , starting from the preamble to the definition schedule”.

He asserted that the recent # EndSARS protests showed Nigeria needed restructuring , as he queried the readiness of Nigerians “ to drastically restructure this country , starting from the architectural layout of government and governance as wantonly displayed in the constitution foisted on us by the outgoing military government without any input by Nigerians ”.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria spoke at his hometown , Ikere Ekiti , Ekiti State , on Saturday during the 2020 edition of the yearly Wole Olanipekun Scholarship Award ceremony where 67 secondary school students , 73 university undergraduates , three Law school students and a doctoral student benefitted.

He said , “Between now and 2023, we should be able to have a clean , practical , pragmatic and acceptable constitution which can jurisprudentially be described as grundnorm.

“All arms of government have to be completely redefined , resituated and restrategised for a new Nigeria which will bring about ‘unity and faith, peace and progress ’ .

“To achieve this end , the National Assembly must also come to the reality that we need the application of the doctrine of necessity for them to jettison whatever powers are vested in them by the Section 9 of the constitution , etc. to segmentally amend it according to the whims and caprices to ‘we , the people of Nigeria ’” .

Olanipekun said that such would enable Nigerians to “ sit down and give ourselves a true, realistic and workable constitution after we might have earnestly put all our cards on the table by expressing all our wishes and aspirations. ”

He said , “This does not translate to termination or suspension of any of the governments at federal, state or local government levels ; so that no one should be under any misgiving that one is advocating a displacement or any government. ”

The philanthropist said the scholarship programme , which was established to assist students in his hometown, “has produced 231 graduates out of which 40 are medical doctors , 38 agriculturists , 27 engineers , 37 linguists , 16 political scientists , 25 accountants and 48 law graduates out of which 15 have qualified as lawyers ”.

He also disclosed plan to institute the Wole Olanipekun Foundation in the community with the goal of “providing succour to the society, ameliorating the plight of the underprivileged, bringing relief to the indigent , extending helping hands to the needy and making life easier to the widow and providing assistance to the impoverished ” .

Olanipekun said that the foundation would be committed to youth empowerment and development in the community , adding, “There will be a special programme styled WOF Youth Empowerment Scheme geared towards supporting entrepreneurship development among our teeming youths ”.

​CBN’s policy blocks banks, investors from N622bn illegal earnings

The new Treasury Bills policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has effectively obstructed about N622 billion interest earnings that would have accrued to banks and other individual and corporate investors in the money market.

The banks had mobilised their customers to invest in the NTB at mouth watering yields (interest rate) shortly after the apex bank increased the Loan-to-Deposit Ratio, LDR, requirement to 60percent in September last year.

Instead of lending to real businesses as required by the new LDR directive, banks embarked on aggressive loans to individuals and companies for investment in the NTB to meet the CBN’s LDR requirements.

In response to this the CBN tweaked its NTB policy in October last year cutting off local investors, individuals and corporates, from investing in NTB through the Open Market Operations (OMO) auctions.

Consequently, the interest cost which the apex bank pays to the investors has recorded a massive crash in the first half of 2020 to N675 billion as against N1.3 trillion it dolled out to the investors before the policy (in the first of 2019, H1’19), leaving a balance of about N622 billion that would have gone to the investors.

The blocking of the investors from the OMO segment of the NTB also resulted in a huge decline in the volume of transaction in the instrument.

Investigations revealed that the ban has triggered a 45 percent year-on-year (YoY) decline in the volume of OMO NTBs issued and sold by the CBN, in the first half of the year (H1’2020).

According to the apex bank, OMO NTBs issued during the period fell by 45 percent YoY to N6.39 trillion and N6.45 trillion in H1’2020 from N11.85 trillion and N11.83 trillion respectively in H1’19.

Also reflecting the impact of the exclusion of local investors from OMO auctions, demand for OMO NTBs (public subscription) fell by 34 percent, YoY, to N8.57 trillion in H1’2020 from N13.05 trillion in H1’19.

This trend continued in July and August, with OMO NTBs issued during the two months falling by 81 percent, YoY to N231 billion from N1.24 trillion in the corresponding period of 2019.

Similarly, OMO sales fell by 74 percent, YoY, to N218 billion in July and August, from N855 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.

During this period, demand for OMO bills also fell by 83 percent, y/y to N512 billion from N3.05 trillion in the corresponding period of 2019.

Meanwhile, there are indications that the NTB OMO market would remain on the bullish sentiment this week despite a similar trend in the equities market, money market analysts said.

Last week, performance in the NTB market was bullish as excess funds from the primary auction filtered into the secondary market.

Consequently, average yield across benchmark tenors declined 28 basis points (bps) Week-on-Week, WoW to close at 0.1 percent.

At the close of the week, the mid-term instrument enjoyed the most buying interest as the average yields declined 52bps WoW to 0.1 percent while yield on the short and long-term instruments dived 27bps and 4bps WoW to 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.

According to analysts at Afrinvest West Africa Limited, a Lagos based investment house, “In the coming week, we expect the CBN to resume its liquidity intervention as OMO worth ¦ 103.1billion would hit the system. We expect rates in the secondary NTB market to remain low due to huge money supply.”

​2023 Presidency: PDP faces looming defections in South-East

AHEAD of the 2023 Presidential elections, some prominent leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from South East geopolitical zone have threatened to dump the party for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, if the presidential ticket was not ceded to the zone.
The PDP leaders also vowed not to take the vice presidency position from the party, saying that anyone from the zone that accepts the vice presidential ticket will be tagged an enemy of the zone.

A former governor from the zone who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said that South-East has been faithful to the PDP since 1998 despite what happened to the late former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme at the convention in Jos.

He said: “If the PDP refused to zone the 2023 Presidential ticket to the South-East, we will be left with no other option than to leave the party.

“We are solidly behind the position of our brother and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi. We have supported the party (PDP) and it will be unfortunate if the party decides to take our support for granted. We have also vowed that we are not going to accept the Vice Presidential ticket from the party and any son or daughter of the zone that accepts to be vice to anyone will be tagged an enemy of the zone.

“I can also assure you that if the PDP refuses to zone its Presidential ticket to the South East and Governor Umahi leaves, other governors, members of the National Assembly and key stakeholders of the party from South East will also leave.

“You will be surprised with the kind of tsunami that will hit the PDP if it does not handle the issue well. There must be equity and fairness. We should learn how to reward our loyal and dedicated members.

“From the signals we are getting, the APC appears to be ready to zone its presidential ticket to South East and we cannot leave such gesture and follow a party that doesn’t appreciate your loyalty.

“You know that the APC had promised to consider zoning its presidential candidate for 2023 to South- East if President Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected in 2019. You also know that the President is an upright man. We have the conviction that he will ensure that the APC cedes the position to the zone.

Stakeholders mobilise against VP slot

“Some people are already mobilizing for #EndVP protest in South-East and we are going to ensure that we make resources available to that effect. It’s going to be a collective thing. And I am assuring you that the country will not regret having a President of South-East extraction come 2023.”

PDP’s to NEC meet over Umahi Thursday

Meanwhile, in response to the threat of Governor Umahi to dumping the party for the APC over zoning of 2023 presidential slot, the party will hold an emergency National Executive Committee, NEC meeting on Thursday, November 19 to discuss the way forward. Umahi reportedly met with the PDP National Working Committee, NWC recently in Abuja where he officially made known his intent to pitch tent with the ruling party.

The governor is said to have lost faith in the PDP, a party that has been supported by the South-East geo-political zone since its formation in 1998. The possibility of the North retaining PDP 2023 presidential ticket is high.

Umahi is joining the APC, which is believed to have agreed in principle to allow the Igbo ethnic nationality produce the Presidential candidate in 2023. The Board of Trustees of the party led by Senator Walid Jubrin will meet on Wednesday on the same subject matter ahead of the NEC meeting.

Uncertainty in APC raises dust

Meanwhile, some South-East stakeholders are worried that the APC may not zone the presidency to the South-East given the support of the South-West to the party as well as positioning of some South-West leaders to succeed President Buhari.

A top PDP leader said: ‘’Daring PDP to zone the presidential ticket to South-East or you leave for the APC is not the solution. Has the APC zoned the slot to the South-East? How will you fence off South-West in APC? Have you got South-West APC leaders to back down? What happens if you left PDP for APC and the ruling party zones the presidential ticket to another zone?’

A source privy to the development told Vanguard that the only way Umahi may have a rethink is if the PDP allows the South-East the exclusive privilege to produce its 2023 presidential flag bearer.