Senate Considers Bill To Stop Employers From Casualizing Graduates
A bill seeking to stop employers in the private and public sectors from engaging employable Nigerian graduates as casual workers is under consideration at the Senate.
The proposed law entitled “Prohibition of Casualization Bill 2020” is sponsored by Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo Central). Leading the debate on the bill, Akinyelure said that “casualization of Nigerian graduates in the Nigerian labour market has become a subject of great concern as more workers continue to groan under this immoral strategy of cutting cost by employers rendering them inferior to their counterparts in other countries of the world.”
He lamented that “Statistics from the Nigeria Labour Congress shows that many workers in the telecommunications, oil and gas sectors are engaged as casual labourers by employers of labours.
“Other sectors with thousands of casual labourers include mining, steel, banking and insurance.
“In all these sectors, staff outsourcing and casualization have become the order of the day as such workers no longer have regularised employment terms and, therefore, Nigerian graduates are treated as second class citizens in their own country of origin while foreigners from underdeveloped Countries from Asia , Indian, Pakistan, Lebanon with less qualification to Nigerian graduates are placed as managers above Nigerian graduates in many private and even government establishments in Nigeria.”
Akinyelure warned that the scourge of casualization of employment in Nigeria was gaining grounds in an unprecedented proportion, intensity and scale.
“The increase in the spread and gradual acceptance of this labour practice in the Nigerian labour market has become an issue of great concern to stakeholders,” he lamented.
“Employers of labour are increasingly filling positions in their organizations that are supposed to be permanent skilled workers with casual employees.
“The trend has been largely attributed to the increasing desperation of employers to cut down organisational costs and thereby taking advantage of large numbers of unemployed graduates roaming the streets of our major cities in Nigeria.
“Mr President and distinguished colleagues, engagement of large attendants of the work force on the basis of casualization has become worrisome in the Nigeria labour market.
“Mr. President, let me re-emphasize that on a daily basis, these workers are recruited at the gate and fired at will, in spite of the fact that these workers continue to generate enormous profits for the various establishments they work for, they remain classified as casuals and subjected to deplorable and inhumane working conditions.
“Apart from the fact that these categories of workers are working under spate of uncertainties, casualization also reveals a brutal work growth process similar to slave labour,” he said. Akinyelure while citing the banking industry as a hub for casualization, blamed banks for turning female marketers into harlots and sexual slaves in a desperate attempt by them to keep their jobs and meet unrealistic deposit targets.
“Mr. President, in the banking and insurance industry for instance, many young graduates particularly female are employed as marketers and given unrealistic customer deposit ceiling targets running into millions. They are hired and fired at will when such unrealistic targets are not met.
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“The female among them who are desperate in keeping their jobs turn to harlotry and sex slavery, moving from one office to another looking for invisible customers who had a stash of fund to enable them to meet their targets.Mr. President, it is high time this evil and devilish act were stopped,” the lawmaker fumed.
Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South), while re-echoing Akinyelure’s observation said, “Our girls have been turned into what we cannot imagine. Most of them have been asked to look for funds, and when they come us, I always tell them, I do not even have the funds to eat, how can I have funds to keep with you in the bank?
“And they will never be promoted if they don’t bring in such funds, and this is a banking industry that is privately owned, yes, but has made so much profit, and from the profit they could at least take the few that they can manage properly, rather than take a lot that they will be giving pittance.”
The lawmaker, therefore, harped on the need to have a legal framework to ensure that casualization does not exist.
“If you must take workers, take the number you can on proper emoluments,” she said.
On his part, Senator Ajibola Basiru (APC, Osun Central) while citing the position of the Supreme Court – which gives employers the power to hire and fire – called for caution in the way the bill was tweaked, adding that the National Assembly “must make a distinction in making the prohibition between employment in the public sector and employment in the private sector.”
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The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege on his part, while throwing his weight behind the bill, lamented the treatment of casual workers by oil companies operating in the country.
Another lawmaker, Mohammed Sani Musa (APC, Niger East), said, “I think we need to be a bit careful with this bill, reasons are not far-fetched.
“Both in the public sector and the private sector, when we talk about casualization, there are certain organizations even in the public sector that require the services of casual workers.
“I give a simple example with the Independent National Electoral Commission. When election period comes, they engage close to about 700,00 to 900,000 people, who they engage all over Nigeria for the purpose and conduct of election.
“A lot of manufacturing firms today, if they say they are going to engage everybody as a permanent employee, even the graduates, because there are certain functions that just unskilled personnel cannot handle, you need to have somebody that has requisite qualifications.”
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks charged the Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity to strike a balance in the bill to ensure that casual workers in the country were not made victims of layoffs.
“The fact remains that we need employment for our people, especially our teeming youths on one hand.
“On the other hand, we don’t want discrimination. If we say no casualization at all, some of our people could be victims of layoffs, and, of course, we know what casualization brings. You don’t have any entitlements outside of what you’re given immediately.
“So, we need to strike a balance to ensure that those who have to be employed on an adhoc basis – like one of our colleagues tried to show in INEC recruitments for example – and even in some of the sectors, don’t suffer too much, but that we emphasize getting permanent and pensionable appointments or employment opportunities for our people.
“I think government has a role. While government cannot employ everyone, we have the responsibility to create the environment or climate for employment opportunities to be available, either in government MDAs, or because the economy is good; private sector could engage even more than the government can do.
“So, we have the opportunity now to take this matter before the Nigerian public, and whatever we feel is the general view is what we should try to reflect when we finally pass the bill as we wish to, because this is a very important and indeed a sensitive bill because we need to have a balancing act.
“If you say no casualization in Nigeria at all, there’ll be consequences definitely. And, if you don’t say anything about it, some people will just be suffering – in the words of the sponsors of this bill – from the very devilish and evil treatment of those who employed them.”
The bill after scaling second reading was referred by the Senate President to the Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity to report back within four weeks.
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NLC Directs Officials To Monitor Banks Over Cash Scarcity
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed its officials across the country to go round and monitor cash dispensing situations at the commercial banks.
This is coming ahead of today’s National Executive Council, NEC meeting, leaders of orfficials of state councils of NLC and industrial union affiliates are to take pictorial evidence of the actual situations at the banks, “whether the banks are dispensing cash or not, and report same to the NLC headquarters.”
The monitoring which ends by 12.30 pm will enable the NEC meeting that will commence by 1:00 p.m.at the Labour House, Abuja, takes a final decision on tomorrow’s planned nationwide strike over the cash crunch in the country.
The National leadership of NLC gave the directive yesterday (Monday, March 27).
An official of NLC who spokelsaid, “Yes, the directive was given yesterday. Union leaders are to go around their areas to monitor commercial banks this Morning before 12.30pm and show pictorial evidence of the situation at the banks.
“Whether they are dispensing cash or not. The pictorial evidencesl are to be forwarded to Congress headquarters to be us assess the activities of Commercial banks before the NEC meeting by 1pm to enable us take a final decision on tomorrow’s planned industrial action.”
BREAKING: Old N200, N500, N1,000 Notes Remain Legal Tender Till Dec 31 – CBN
In compliance with a ruling of the Supreme Court, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has declared that old N200, N500, N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.
The apex bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin spoke in a statement on Monday. This is coming 10 days after the Supreme Court ruled that old naira notes should co-exist with new ones till the end of the year.
“In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the Rule of Law Principle that characterized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3, 2023.
“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023.
“Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly,” the statement read.
The highest court of the land had on March 3 ordered that old N200, N500 and N1000 notes remain valid till December 31, 2023.
This was after 16 states of the federation instituted a suit to challenge the legality or otherwise of the introduction of the policy.
The 16 states led by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara had prayed the apex court to void and set aside the policy on the ground that it is inflicting hardships on innocent Nigerians.
The Supreme Court subsequently ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience of its February 8 order is a sign of dictatorship, adding that the President breached the Constitution of the Federation in the way he issued directives for the re-designing of the Naira by the CBN.
After the March 3 judgement by the Supreme Court, the Presidency, CBN and the AGF kept mum, throwing many bank customers and Nigerians into confusion as the ruling of the apex court contradicted the directive of the President on February 16 that old N500 and N1000 notes are banned and old N200 notes remain valid till April 10.
However, the Presidency broke its silence on Monday, saying the President never told the CBN and the AGF not to obey the order of the apex court.
“The CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President,” the Presidency noted.
According to the Presidency, the President is an absolute respecter of the rule of law and that the “negative campaign and personalised attacks against the President by the opposition and all manner of commentators is unfair and unjust.”
The CBN had extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10 following complaints by many Nigerians but the Supreme Court, after a suit filed by the states, held that the Federal Government, the CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the February 10 deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue.
However, the President, in a national broadcast on February 16, directed the apex bank to release old N200 notes into circulation to co-exist with new N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days — by April 10, 2023. He also said old N500 and N1,000 banknotes cease to be legal tender in Nigeria.
There has been a flurry of reactions and stark criticisms against the President’s directive including from governors of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Umar Ganduje (Kano); Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; and many stalwarts of the ruling APC have openly censured and faulted the President’s directive, arguing that it has no grounds because the case is before the apex court.
Leading Senior Advocates of Nigeria like Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome have equally faulted the President’s move, saying he cannot overrule the apex court of the land.
CBN Asked Banks To Receive Old Naira Notes – Soludo
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has asked commercial banks to dispense and accept old naira notes as deposits, according to Anambra State Governor Charles Soludo.
Soludo, a former CBN governor, made this known in a statement he posted on his social media handles.
He explained that the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele gave the directive at a Banker’s Committee meeting on Sunday.
He added that Emefiele personally confirmed the directive to him.
According to him, residents should report banks refusing to accept the old notes.
“Commercial banks have been directed by the Central Bank to dispense old currency notes and also to receive the same deposits from customers. Tellers at commercial banks are to generate the codes for deposits, and there is no limit to the number of times an individual or company can make deposits.”
“The Governor of the CBN gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting held on Sunday, 12th March 2023. The Governor, Dr Godwin Emefiele, personally confirmed the above to me during a phone conversation on Sunday night. Residents of Anambra are therefore advised to freely accept and transact their businesses with the old currency notes (N200, N500; and N1,000) and the new notes”, the statement added.
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