By Sule Yarima, Jalingo
The newly elected Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Kizito Bonzena on Friday admitted that he was challenged by the numerous problems of the house.
Bonzena who disclosed this during the inauguration of the 10th assembly, expressed optimism that with his colleagues’ goodwill, support, cooperation, and prayers they will collectively surmount those problems.
He highlighted some of the problems the house is faced with including poor infrastructure, lack of office accommodation, and lack of training for both legislators and staff of the house.
Other are unpaid backlog of allowances, for the Staff, unpaid arrears of membership fees for both Africa and International Commonwealth Parliamentary Associations, as well as Digitalization of the voting system in the state among many others.
“I begin this speech by thanking God Almighty for His grace, love, and kindness over us,”
The Speaker commended the State Governor, Dr. Agbu Kefas for deliberately creating an enabling environment for the inauguration of the 10th Assembly.
“In particular, Your Excellency’s presence here is a practical demonstration of how high Your Excellency holds the Legislature in the scheme of things.
“The Executive-Legislative relation must continue to be cordial and symbiotic,” Bonzena reiterated.
He also thanked his colleagues for entrusting him to steer the affairs of the house, promising that he will not take the gesture for granted and not to disappoint them.
Dr. Hon. Kizito Bonzena, however, appealed to the members to cooperate and pray for the success of the 10th Assembly as well as the Dr. Agbu Kefas-led Administration in the State.
The Speaker closed by commending the Clark of the house and his crew of support service providers, members of the Press, security operatives, and CSOs among others for their roles in developing the state.
Meanwhile, Rt. Hon. Kizito Bonzena, a member representing Zing Constituency for the fifth time is among the four (4) legislators that were able to secure their seats among the twenty (24) members of the house and emerged as Speaker for the second term.
Recalled that Rt. Hon. Bonzena succeeded the then Speaker, Rt. Hon. Joseph Albasu Kunini who resigned after holding the position from December 2019-2023 in the 9th Assembly.
Adamawa Approves Wuro Ngayadi Bridge, Stormwater Drainage Projects
By Muhammad B. Muhammad
The Adamawa State Executive Council at its 2023, 6th meeting has approved construction of a 3 span bridge across River Wuro Ngayadi in Madagali LGA at the cost of over N893m.
The bridge located after Michika along Mubi-Maiduguri Federal Highway was intially destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents.
The State Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mrs Neido Geoffrey Kofulto revealed this to newsmen after the Council Meeting that held in the Government House, Yola Wednesday.
She added that the approval was to ease the hardships of the community and motorists plying the road as the temporary bridge constructed by the government was washed away by flood.
Mrs Kofulto further said the Council has also approved rehabilitation and desilting of three stormwater drainages in Yola North Local Government Area at the cost of over N161m.
The Commissioner said the drainages include Ganye Street passing through Rumde Jimeta Bypass which measures at 1.87kms.
Others, she said are Bishop Street passing through Luggere, covering 1.9km and CBN Market to Zaranda street measuring 2.6kms.
According to the Commissioner, the 2 contracts were awarded to Triacta Nigeria Limited and G and G Construction Nigeria Limited respectively.
On his part, the State Commissioner of Budget Planning, Mr. Emmanuel Piridimso spoke on the 2022 Budget Transparency Survey report where Adamawa was ranked 3rd in Nigeria and 1st in the northeast.
He said the council was briefed on the matter which he noted the feat was due to the giant stride recorded by Governor Umaru Fintiri to ensuring transparency in the budget process.
Contributing, the Commissioner of Works and Energy, Alh Adamu Atiku Abubakar on behalf of the council congratulated Adamawa Sports Contingents for emerging 7th position in the just concluded sports festival that held in Delta State.
COV. Sahel Reporters
Be Accessible To The Media- Gov. Kefas Charges Commissioners
By Sani Yarima
In his determination to ensure transparency and accountability, Governor Agbu Kefas of Taraba State has directed his Commissioners to always avail themselves to the media to enable them to publicize the policies and programs of the present administration.
Kefas gave the order during an interactive session with the Journalists held at the Government House, Jalingo. the capital city.
He said the directive was following a report he received that some of the Commissioners are declining to comment on issues concerning the activities of the government.
“To you the Commissioners, you should make yourselves accessible to the Journalists, and anything that you don’t know, tell them you will get back and come and meet me, I will tell you what to tell them to enable them to the publicizes the activities of our administration,” says Kefas.
He announced that the state government will soon establish the “Kefas Palliative Market” where foodstuff will be sold at a subsidized price to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.
The Governor, who described education as the bedrock of any society, reiterated his commitment to ensuring that every child in the state has access to quality education.
Governor, however, revealed that he has implemented policies by providing free and compulsory education for primary and secondary schools across the state.
“This is a step to breaking down barriers to learning and empowering the future of our younger generations. We also slashed the tuition fees for higher institutions by 50%, the gesture is intended to reduce Financial constraints for parents and guardians,” says Kefas.
On his commitment to the welfare of workers, the number one citizen of the state, Dr. Agbu Kefas further reiterated his unwavering resolve to the timely payment of salaries and pensions, for the comfort of Tarabans.
In 24hrs, FG Increases Minimum Wage Twice To Avert Labour Strike
The Federal Government has increased its minimum wage hike for public sector workers twice within the past 24 hours in a bid to forestall a labour strike scheduled for Tuesday October 3.
In an Independence Day address to Nigerians Sunday October 1, President Bola Tinubu had announced a provisional addition of N25,000 per month to the wages of low grade workers to subsist for six months, to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy on the cost of living.
Organised Labour had been asking for a minimum wage hike of between 200 and 300 percent. The initial N25,000 addition to wages by government earlier Sunday, amounted to a little under a 100 percent increase, as the Federal Government workers minimum wage previously stood at N30,000 per month.
The hike in the addition from N25,000 to N35,000 takes the wage increase to just above a 100 percent hike.
After an emergency meeting with Labour Sunday, the Federal Government came out to say it is hopeful of the organised labour suspending its planned strike, saying the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) will consider the government’s offers, including a N35,000 pay increase for all “treasury-paid” federal workers.
“NLC and TUC will consider the offers by the Federal Government with a view to suspending the planned strike to allow for further consultations on the implementation of the resolutions above,” a statement by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said.
The meeting which was virtual, was chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, with the Governor of Kwara State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Abdulrazak Abdulrahman; and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State also in attendance.
Labour was represented by NLC President, Joe Ajaero; Deputy President, TUC; Dr Tommy Etim Okon; NLC General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja; and TUC General Secretary, Nuhu Toro, among others.
Organised Labour has been embroiled in a series of vexed meetings with the Federal Government, following the removal of fuel subsidy and the free float of the naira last May.
This followed a 300 percent hike in the cost of petrol and a subsequent sharp upward spiral in the cost of food, goods and services.
Labour had met with the President Bola Tinubu, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila and Labour and Employment Minister, Simon Lalong, among others.
It had further called a protest and a warning strike before calling this impending strike.
Labour’s demands of the Federal Government included a 200/300 per cent wage increase; making the nation’s refineries to work to reduce the costs of petroleum products; tax exemption for certain categories of workers; fast-tracking the availability of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and its technology as a cheaper alternative energy source to petrol; and the Federal Government’s effective monitoring of the states’ implementation of the N5 billion worth of palliatives to mitigate the effects of subsidy removal. Labour further demands that the Federal Government meet the needs of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), among which is a N1.3 trillion injection into the system for its revitalisation, as part of the pact reached in 2013; and the release of a N70 billion loan to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to stimulate the economy.
In his Independence Day address to the nation, President Bola Tinubu had announced a provisional wage increase which adds N25,000 to the monthly pay of Nigeria’s average low-grade worker for the next six months.
The President also announced the establishment of an Infrastructure Support Fund for states to invest in critical areas to ensure better grassroots development.
He further said the states have already received funds to provide relief packages against the impact of rising food and other prices.
He said government was committed to making the economy more robust by lowering public transport costs through the deployment of cheaper, safer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses across the nation.
The CNG buses, he said will operate at a fraction of current fuel prices, positively affecting transport fares.
He said to this end, CNG conversions kits will start coming in very soon and all hands are on deck to fast track the usually lengthy procurement process.
“We are also setting up training facilities and workshops across the nation to train and provide new opportunities for transport operators and entrepreneurs. This is a groundbreaking moment where, as a nation, we embrace more efficient means to power our economy.
“I pledged a thorough housecleaning of the den of malfeasance the CBN had become. That housecleaning is well underway. A new leadership for the Central Bank has been constituted.
“Also, my special investigator will soon present his findings on past lapses and how to prevent similar reoccurrences. Henceforth, monetary policy shall be for the benefit of all and not the exclusive province of the powerful and wealthy”, he added.
“Wise tax policy is essential to economic fairness and development. I have inaugurated a Committee on Tax Reforms to improve the efficiency of tax administration in the country and address fiscal policies that are unfair or hinder the business environment and slow our growth.
“To boost employment and urban incomes, we are providing investment funding for enterprises with great potential. Similarly, we are increasing investment in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
“Commencing this month, the social safety net is being extended through the expansion of cash transfer programs to an additional 15 million vulnerable households.”
The strike action called by Labour was strategically timed to come soon after the anticipated October 1, Indepence Day address by President Bola Tinubu.
This was to leave sufficient time for labour to call off the strike, should President Tinubu adequately address their demands in his address.
In announcing the decision to call a strike NLC president, Joe Ajaero, said there would be consequences, “If the President ignites any responses to our demands in his Independence Day address that will be imposing wages on us and not a conscious negotiation between Labour and the Federal Government”.
Ajaero emphasised: “If he declares an amount to give, that will be mere tokenism and not a product of bargaining and negotiation.”
On this score, it would seem that Sunday’s meeting was to allow for further wage increase negotiation as demanded by Labour.
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