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Nigerian Oil Workers’ Strike Over IPPIS

Okugbawa was quoted to have said the order for members to down tools was issued in a letter, dated November 8, 2020, a copy of which was sent to the Central Working Committee of the association.

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With the economic impact of the recent #EndSARS protests, which made the Nigerian economy lose over N600 Billion in its wake, coupled with the wanton destruction of lives and properties, Nigerians may be heading for another crisis, as oil workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) are getting set to down their tools.

This result of this will be the scarcity of petroleum products in the country.

The General Secretary of PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, has announced that it might commence in the coming days.

Okugbawa was quoted to have said the order for members to down tools was issued in a letter, dated November 8, 2020, a copy of which was sent to the Central Working Committee of the association.

It was learnt that the strike was in line with the oil workers’ lingering disagreement with the federal government over the directive on the registration of some of its members on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

Related: Oil Workers Ordered To Shut Down Chevron Nigeria Operations

Although dialogue over the issues have been going on for some time, the oil workers have accused the government of not making concrete moves to settle the differences.

A technical committee set up by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to dialogue on the issues with the union reportedly reached a decision that failed to meet the minimum demand of the oil workers, who insisted that its members be excluded from enrolment on the IPPIS platform.

However, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, which is handling the exercise through its IPPIS Office, is insisting that the presidential directive that they be enrolled on the payroll must be complied with.

About IPPIS

The IPPIS is an information communications technology project initiated by the federal government to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of payroll administration for its ministries, departments and agencies.

The IPPIS secretariat is a department under the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation responsible for payment of salaries and wages directly to government employee’s bank accounts with appropriate deductions and remittances of third-party payments such as tax, health insurance, housing, pension and so on.

In June this year, PENGASSAN embarked on a three-day nationwide warning strike “to protest the forceful enrolment into the defective IPPIS payment platform.”

Read also: Chevron Nigeria Recalls Dismissed Staff, Strike Action Suspended

The workers’ association said the strike action was pursuant to the demands concerning their members working in federal government agencies, whose salaries were withheld since May, over alleged non-compliance with the federal government’s directive to all its agencies to enroll on the IPPIS payment platform.

On June 8, PENGASSAN wrote to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, to protest the decision by the government to not pay the workers allegedly at the instance of the finance ministry.

In the letter, the association identified the affected agencies to include the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRRA), Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF), Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NNRA), and Petroleum Training Institute (PTI).

The strike was called off after the intervention of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.

But the oil workers’ unions insisted they would not guarantee industrial peace in the oil and gas sector if the implementation of the IPPIS was carried out unilaterally, or the matter resolved without their input.

They criticised the decision by the accountant general’s office to insist on the enrollment of the affected agencies on IPPIS despite the fact that the federal government revived the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System where the affected agencies were currently enrolled.

In October 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari, during the presentation of the 2020 budget proposal to the joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja, said all federal government workers not captured on the IPPIS platform by October 31, 2019 would not be paid their monthly salaries, and the directive have been carried out.

The president said this was part of efforts to manage high personnel costs in line with his administration’s commitment to fighting corruption.

However, following difficulties encountered in the system affecting some agencies, the enforcement of the presidential directive dragged beyond the initial deadline of October 2019.

East Africa News

Lightning Kills Four In Mozambique

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No fewer than four people have been killed by lightning strikes in Mozambique’s western province of Tete, the Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) announced on Wednesday.

News Central reports that Tete shares a border with neighbouring Malawi.

According to the institute, the victims include an elderly woman and a three-year-old child. One other victim was seriously injured and a residence set ablaze.

The incident follows a rainstorm accompanied by strong winds that left a trail of destruction in southern Mozambique.

Tete’s National Disaster Management Institute delegate, Alex Angelo, said the torrential rain also caused damage in Maputo province on Tuesday and early Wednesday morning.

He added that thunderstorms, wind and heavy rain brought down trees and power poles and damaged public infrastructure in the districts of Matola, Boane and Marracuene.

The storm also destroyed homes, uprooted trees and electricity poles and blew away the roofs of some schools and a local prosecutor’s office.

The destruction occurred mainly in four districts within the province.

The meteorological authorities predict the bad weather may continue for four more days.

The situation is likely to cause flooding in the cities of Beira and Dondo, which were devastated by cyclone Idai last year, and cause erosion in Chimoio.

Meteorologist Acacio Tembe says the torrential rains are beginning a week earlier than expected and they will continue for long.

He added that the rains may cause the flooding of the Buzi and Pungue rivers.

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East Africa News

Tigray: Ethiopia, U.N Reach Agreement On Provision Of Aids

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The Ethiopian government and the United Nations (U.N) have reached an agreement on the provision of access to humanitarian aids.

This was revealed by U.N officials on Wednesday, as they claim that the Ethiopian government has agreed to the provision of aids in Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital.

Ethiopia and Tigray, a powerful region in the north of the country, have been at loggerheads since the 4th of November.

The Ethiopian government accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of destroying public properties and wreaking a havoc on the state.

This led to battles between the giant of the Horn of Africa and the rebellious Tigrayan forces.

The UN, through its refugee agency, warned about the lean supply of food to the more than 100,000 refugees in Ethiopia. At least 46,000 Ethiopians have also taken refuge in neighbouring Sudan, where they are short on food supply, according to the U.N.

Read also: UN Seeks $147m Support For Ethiopians In Sudan

Also affected in the food crunch are refugees in Eritrea, Ethiopia’s closest neighbours.

African envoys had called for a truce amid the Ethiopian government’s rejection of mediation from the international community.

Mister Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia said on Monday that Mekelle has been captured, as he revealed that no civilian was hit in the process.

His claims were however rejected by the leader of the TPLF, Debretsion Gebremichael who claimed that the Ethiopian government hit civilians in its onslaught on Mekelle.

The TPLF has refused to back down from its conflict with Ethiopia, denying that the battle is not over, contrary to the claims of Mister Ahmed.

Ethiopia is gearing up for its election in 2021, with political matters forming a part of the reasons for the ongoing conflict.

Mister Ahmed postponed the Ethiopian elections in August, citing COVID-19 as the reason for the decision. The TPLF has accused the Prime Minister of illegally leading government by buying himself more time through postponement of the election.

The TPLF ruled Ethiopia for 27 years before the emergence of Mister Ahmed in 2018.

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Health

COVID-19: 281 New Cases, 3 Deaths Reported in Nigeria

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Nigeria has announced 281 new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on its verified website on Tuesday, said the West African nation also recorded three deaths.

The NCDC said that the new infections brought the total number of cases in Nigeria to 67,838.

Data obtained from the (NCDC) website showed that Lagos State recorded the highest number of infections with 123, while the Federal Capital Territory had 64, Kaduna and Imo reported, 38 and 15 infections respectively.

Rivers had 11, Plateau 8, Ogun 5, Bayelsa and Kwara had 4 each, Bauchi and Edo had 3 each; Kano 2 and Osun 1.

The agency reports that Nigeria has so far tested 779,708 people since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced on Feb. 27, 2020.

The agency said 148 patients have recovered from COVID-190 and have been discharged from different isolation centres in the country.

“Our discharges include 61 community recoveries in Lagos State managed in line with guidelines,’’ the centre said.

The NCDC stated that there were three COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours in Nigeria.

The health agency said that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC) was activated at Level Three to coordinate the national response activities.

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