World Health day: Devcoms call on FG to address inequality

By Favour Nnabugwu

Development Communication, Devcoms, has called the federal government on this World Health Day to address the issue of inequality amongst Nigerians.

The communication also implored the government to provide equitable health care coverage to all citizens to reduce the impact of health emergencies on Nigerians.

Program Director, of Devcoms, Mr. Akin Jimoh informed that the ongoing Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic has shown the fragile nature of health care services and coverage in the country a situation has been worsened by the ongoing strike by resident doctors across the country.

According to him, “We call on the Nigerian government to address health inequalities in the country and provide a conducive environment for citizens to thrive in good health.  Failure to provide equitable access to quality healthcare is unfair to Nigerians”.

The actions of the doctors are a direct result of age-long disagreements with the government, an action that impacts more on vulnerable groups across the country.

“We, at Development Communications (DevComs) Network, condemn the unequal access to health care delivery between the general populace and government officials, political leaders, traditional rulers, and the majority of the affluent in the society”.

He also stated, “Majority of Nigerians struggle daily to make ends meet and put food on the table.  Most of them still live below poverty lines and the advent of COVID-19 has shown the unequal distribution of wealth in the country”

“Though Nigeria is a resource-rich country, the majority of citizens continue to wallop in poverty.  This has led to a lot of problems in the country from insecurity to lack of many social amenities including steady electricity supply,  portable water, and so on”

He continued, “All these impact on the health of the populace and lack of good health indices is an indicator that we are not thriving as a country”.

“The Nigerian government needs to do more for the populace no matter who is in power in the country,” he adds.

COVID-19 has hit all nations with a greater impact on communities and vulnerable groups, with limited access to high-quality health care and a high burden of disease and infirmities.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that “some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others – entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age.”

NAIC pays N1.7bn claims to 5,000 farmers in 2 years

By Favour Nnabugwu

The Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) paid a whopping N1.7biilion claims to over 5,000 farmers in two years

A breakdown of it showed that the Corporation paid N856million in 2019 and N848 million as claims to its insured farmers in the 2020.

The Managing Director of NAIC, Mrs. Folashade Joseph said the claims were paid to the Corporation’s clients to cover losses incurred by them in the course of doing business.

Joseph enjoined agricultural investors and lending institutions to continue to partner NAIC to realize the food security agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said the amount was shared among 5 million farmers who suffered various setbacks in their farms as a result of natural course.

The scheme was launched in 1987 by federal government to restore the confidence and productivity of Nigerian farmers who suffered losses as a result of natural disaster such as flood, drought, pest and diseases.

She explained that the essence of the sensitization is to let the farmers known and understand exactly what NAIC does, the importance of insurance, and make them understand how insurance works, how they can access NAIC products and services, processing their claims, and what they need.

Agribusiness is evolving fast and so many risks are being thrown up, many new participants are coming into the business of agriculture, and the risks are on the increase if you look at them across the value chain there is no so many participants so we need to keep sensitizing the farmers and let them know we are serving them, and we need to know from them on how to serve them.

“Our assurance to farmers is that when they are insured and they suffered for any of the products insured including natural disasters and whatever they will get paid for their losses, and that is the purpose of insurance and setting up NAIC. Our motor is ‘Plowing the Farmer Back to Business, Plowing the Farmers into Prosperity’, and we settle claims.”

NAIC currently deals with thousands of farmers (Small, Medium, and Large scale farmers) across the country, which NAIC serves farmers with investment as little as N100, 000, and at the same time serves multinational farmers. In terms of reach out to farmers, it cuts across.

“The response of farmers has been fantastic because they have realized that every business needs insurance, and agric too is a business, and we see it as a business and there is risk in all that we do.

26 day after, WAEC releases WASSCE results as females lead in five credits

By Favour Nnabugwu
Twenty-six days after the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, Nigeria was conducted, results are released of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE, for private candidates 2021.
The Head of the Nigeria National office, WAEC, Mr. Patrick Areghan made this known in Lagos as females take the lead on minimum of five credits subjects including English Language and Mathematics.
Breakdown the results, he said, “A total of Seven Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety (7,690) (representing a 38% decline, when compared with the 2020 entry figure)entered for the examination, while Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty-Nine (7,289) candidates actually sat the examination at Two Hundred and Fifty-Two (252) centres spread across the nooks and crannies of the country.
Though he attributed the decline in theentry figure to the negative impact of the COVID– 19 pandemic.
“A total of Twenty-Three (23) candidates with varying degrees of Special Needs were registered for the examination. Out of this number, Six (6) were visually challenged, Two (2)had impaired hearing; Five (5) were Albino; One (1)was spastic cum mentally challenged, and Nine (9) were physically challenged with their results processed and also released.
 “Of the total number of Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty-Nine (7,289) candidates that sat the examination, Three Thousand Five Hundred and
Ninety-Three (3,593) were males while Three Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety-Six (3,696) were females, representing 49.29 percent and 50.71 percent respectively.
“Of this number, One Thousand and Seventy-Four (1,074) i.e. 48.93 percent were male candidates, while One Thousand, One Hundred and Twenty-One (1,121) i.e. 51.07 percent were female candidates.
The percentage of candidates in this category in the WASSCE for Private Candidates, 2019 and 2020, that is, those who obtained credit and above in a minimum of five (5) subjects, including English Language and Mathematics, were 26.08 percent and 32.23 percent respectively. Thus, there is a marginal decrease of 2.12 percent” Mr Areghan noted.
Federal Civil Servants want return of gratuity, review of Pension Act

By admin

The civil servants under the eagis of President, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) have demanded the immediate and quick return of payment of gratuity to retirees at the point of retirement.

The return of gratuity, they said, would motivate workers for effective productivity and service delivery, while in service and also end the suffering of pensioners, which they now experience immediately after retirement.

To this end, labour has demanded an immediate review of the Pension Act and has approached the Federal Government to effectively and unambiguously reflect the payment of gratuity in the Act

Already, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation has promised to set up a committee to look at the issue of re-introduction of gratuity to retiring workers.

ASCSN President, Comrade Tommy Etim Okon, said there is no provision in the Pension Act and any extant law, that erased payment of gratuity.

He added that the union has already written a memo to the Federal Government, through the Head of Service of the Federation, to demand the immediate return of gratuity.
When you look at the Pension Act as amended in 2014, you will find out that there is no provision that has stopped payment of gratuity to Nigerian workers.” Comd. Tommy said while speaking to Tribune Online in Abuja.

The ASCSN president pointed out that the association along with other trade unions and comrades in the struggle would approach the issue with the government and ensure that the Pension Act is revisited.

He said: “It is inhumane for a worker to put in 35 years or reached sixty years old as the case may be and you just wait for pension without something to say thank you. That was the essence of gratuity but I bet you, since the issue of pension came, nobody is talking about that aspect and there’s no provision in the Pension Act that has eroded that aspect. So, we need to look at that.”

On the issue of Contributory Pension Scheme, Comd. Tommy insisted that there was no provision in that Act that says that management should not pay gratuity.
He added: “Contributory Pension Scheme is your money and government is only paying a certain percentage and you are also paying a percentage. So, that does not stop the government from saying thank you.”

He cited an example of other government parastatals or agencies, especially the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where workers still receive gratuity after retirement, apart from their huge and fat salaries.

According to him, “we are not running a different economy, the workers in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other agencies are earning far and fat. For example, for a worker that has gotten to a directorate cadre, when you leave the Central Bank of Nigeria, you are collecting nothing less than N130 million just to say thank you and then your pension keeps coming.

So, why is it different in the public sector? I can challenge anyone to show me where in the pension Act, that says that gratuity should not be paid. We can’t talk about the issue of contributory Pension and you think, that has eroded the gratuity. It has not eroded it.

“We need to go back and look at the interpretation of some of those provisions for us to be in line with the reality on ground. That is why, when a worker is retired, he becomes a beggar. What on earth will keep a retiree for three to four years before receiving pension?

“It, therefore, means that the worker has put in all of his or her best, only for the government to throw them away into an economy that they never planned for. So, they die even before they get their pension. But if they have collected a gratuity, that would have even helped them to live long because most of them even live on drugs.”

However, he ruled out any legal option, saying that legality is not the solution to the problem of industrial relations but the application of a lobbying mechanism.

He said: “We have put up a memo to the Head of Service and the memo is presently before the Head of Service. We expected a committee to be set up by her to look at it and then we take it up from there. So, it is not all about legality, it has to also do with morality.

“In the memo, we raised some issues including this, and the Head of Service promised to set up a committee so that we look at it together, but we are still expecting that committee to be set up. Once the committee is set up, then we proceed from there. I am very sure that the resolution from that committee, the position paper will be approved and gratuity will return to the service.”