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JOHESU: ‘Salary parity with doctors not possible

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As the on-going strike embarked upon by members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) gradually paralyses Nigeria’s health sector, a human resource expert, Dr. Femi Solomon, has described the action as unnecessary and a reflection of inordinate ambition on the part of the striking medical workers.

Solomon, in a chat with New Telegraph, condemned the action of the medical workers, saying that the call for pay parity with medical doctors is only heard of in this part of the world. Although appeal has come from different quarters including the Federal Government and members of the public for them to go back to work, the leadership of the union appears to be resolute in its decision to sustain the strike indefinitely.

Despite the appeal and clarification that the Consolidated Health Sector Salary Structure (CONHESS) table that corresponds with the 2014 Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) adjustment with the medical doctors had been appropriately addressed by the National Salary Income and Wages Commission and given as an offer in the spirit of equity, the union went ahead to include states and local government health workers in its strike.

JOHESU members include Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hos-pitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions and the Nigeria Union of Pharmacists, Medical Technologists and Professions Allied to Medicine.

Between 2017 and now, this is about the second or third time the union would be embarking on either a total or warning strike, thereby putting the already failing health sector and by extension, lives of the masses, in danger.

Solomon, a consultant based in the United States, said many factors were often considered before salary structures are designed for institutions and organisations by government and other employers respectively. According to him, sometimes it goes beyond academic qualification to include the uniqueness and essential need of the individual to be employed.

“This is where human resource education is also very important. The problem too is that Nigeria is not an organised society otherwise some of these things should be spelt out to the employee at the point of entry.

It is not after he has been smuggled into the system through the assistance of a big uncle before you open up the facts to him. While aligning with some Nigerians that the demand of the striking worker is frivolous, absurd and not obtainable anywhere in the world, he said:

“The Federal Government that placed that bar knew what it was doing and it is not enough now for individual to come and hold everybody to ransom just for their selfish interest. While I am not opposed to the workers’ call for improved welfare, I, however, do not subscribe to their demand for pay parity with the doctors.”

He said that the medical sector was not the only one with pay disparity, stressing that if all institutions were to enjoy pay according to what they engaged in, the police would demand equal pay with the military since they are always on ground to contain insecurity while soldiers are holed up in the barracks only to be deployed in the event of an external aggression.

He, therefore, advised the union members to call off their strike, go back to work and save the lives of poor masses, who are mostly the ones using government health facilities. His appeal came just as the Federal Government also restated its call on the union members to save the nation’s health sector from further disaster. Specifically, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, in a bid to further calm the nerves of the striking workers, castigated the leadership of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) by telling them to stop meddling in the current crisis.

He said the doctors should stop meddling in the strike, adding that such meddlesomeness arising from an unhealthy inter- union rivalry will adversely put pressure on social dialogue mechanism.

Ngige reminded the striking workers that the CONHESS table that corresponds with the 2014 CONMESS adjustment with the medical doctors has been appropriately addressed by the National Salary Income and Wages Commission.

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TCIP Customs explains cargo clearance delays at port

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The Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has said the recent in cargo clearance being witnessed by importers and Customs Brokers at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos is because the NCS Internet Server was down thus impeding cargo documents processing.

This was disclosed by the Tin Can Island Customs Public Relations Officer, CSP Tony Ejesieme during a chat with the Sunday Telegraph on Wednesday at the port city of Apapa.

Ejesieme noted that the internet network breakdown as experienced by the Service could cause delay at anytime and was not the fault of the NCS but that of a bad weather.

The PRO, who admitted that there was delay in cargo release, said the command had not captured any importers for cargo release but was optimistic that the network would surge back and cargo clearance processing would commence immediately.

“We have not been able to work since morning as no importers have been captured. This is another delay; issuing debit note has become a problem. But the network will certainly come back and we will commence work immediately,’’ said he.

According to him, the major reasons for delay were non-compliance with import guidelines, wrong classification and declaration by importers, and lack of working scanners.

He, however, absolved the Service of any complicity and maintained that the NCS works based on procedure. ‘’Whatever we are doing is based on procedure and in accordance with the import laws. It is true that there is delay; if there are issues of infraction, there will be delay,’’ he said.

Ejesieme also caused by lack of scanners, saying that all scanners in all the ports in Lagos have broken down completely except only one in Apapa which could not handle all cargo in the port and that is why many cargos are routed to physical examination.

‘’Scanners are not working; only one is working in Apapa, no one in Tin Can. The issue of scanners has to be settled and we have engaged government on it.’’

Advising importers and customs agents to adhere to the import guidelines, he said that the security of nation as the nation approaches the general elections in 2019 would not be compromised as the Service is working with other government agencies to protect the territorial boundaries of the nation.

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UBA Foundation reading through regions in Africa

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As part of its mission to improve the lives of communities in which the United Bank for Africa operates, UBA Foundation said it has continued to encourage African youths to adopt the culture of reading through its ‘Read Africa’ initiative.

Read Africa aims to rekindle the reading culture amongst young Africans. Designed and introduced in 2011 by the UBA Foundation, the initiative has donated hundreds of thousands of books to African schools since its inception.

This past week, The Foundation took its initiative to the francophone city of Libreville to the students of the George MABIGNATH high school in Gabon.

The launch of Read Africa in Gabon saw in attendance, the author of the selected book Sidonie, written by famous Gabonese writer Chantal Magalie MBAZOO.

It was a colorful ceremony that witnessed the CEO of the Foundation, Bola Atta reading to and interacting with the students in high energy in the presence of their Principal, Mrs. Boudounghou Biboutou Isabelle and other staff members.

Bola Atta summarized the Foundation’s initiative saying, “At the UBA Foundation, we are committed to improving the lives of the youths on the continent and one of the ways we can achieve this is to help you read more. I am here to talk to you a little about the importance of reading and how it can radically change your life. Reading encourages you to dream, it expands your knowledge, your vocabulary. It is a path to achieving your ambitions”.

 

Chioma Mang, the CEO of UBA Gabon also reiterated the mission of UBA and emphasized the bank’s commitment to the Gabonese community. “ I love children and I am happy to be here with you all today. I’d like to encourage you to read very well so that you can reach great heights in your life like me. UBA is going to be there for you all the way. You can count on us”, she said.

 

The Read Africa initiative then moved on to Zambia to the Horizon Secondary School in Lusaka where the Director in the ministry of higher education in charge of Vocation, Education and Training, Mr. Alex Simumba, thanked UBA and the Foundation for the good work that is being done across Africa. He said, “To UBA Foundation, we thank you for your support to the institution today. We welcome this and many more collaboration in the field of literacy and other higher education programmes. We also further encourage other private sector organisations to take a keen interest in such programmes because the youths who are receiving these literary materials will be benefitting greatly from them,” he said.

 

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Shell has disbursed N1.88bn to GMoU clusters in Delta State

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The General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Mr. Igo Weli has said that Shell Petroleum Development Company, (SPDC) is still active in Delta State noting that the oil giant has executed a lot of projects in the state.

According to him, the oil giant has disbursed a total sum of N1.88 billion to Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) in clusters.

Igo Weli, who disclosed this when he spoke with newsmen in Warri on Thursday, revealed that the GMoU funding covers the three clusters currently active in Delta State since the inception of the concept in 2006, adding that Cluster Development Boards (CDBs) like their counterparts in other parts of the Niger Delta, are implementing health and educational projects among others.

During the media presentation of the 2018 Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes to Journalists, he also disclosed that Shell has established a Professorial Chair at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE,) as it continues to operate in the state and contribute to its development.

Weli explained that the Professorial Chair in Light Weight Automobile Engine Development was activated at FUPRE in December last year and is the latest of six established by SPDC JV, noting that the Chair at Effurun is expected to contribute to the growth of local content in Nigeria’s automobile industry.

He added that in a bid to boost employment especially among youths, more than 700 young men and women have benefited from Shell’s LiveWIRE initiative between 2003 and 2017.

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