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Nigeria may need to raise supplementary budget to be able pay minimum wage— IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the Nigerian government may need to raise a supplementary budget to be able to pay the proposed minimum wage increase for workers.

The IMF which gave the advise in its latest staff country report for Nigeria on Monday, said a supplementary budget was necessary because the negotiated amount for the wage increase may surpass the budgeted amount in the original 2024 budget.

“The authorities noted that a supplementary budget may be needed to accommodate the outcome of the ongoing wage structure negotiations which may exceed what they had included in the 2024 budget,” the report said.

“Staff projects a higher fiscal deficit than anticipated in the 2024 budget, but broadly unchanged from 2023. The drivers are lower oil/gas revenue projections, reflecting IMF oil price forecasts but incorporating recent production gains; higher implicit fuel and electricity subsidies; continued suspension of excise measures included in the MTEF; and higher interest costs,” the agency noted.

The report also noted that the government might need to raise the domestic and external borrowing ceilings to prevent fresh borrowings from the apex bank’s Ways and Means.

“Over the medium-term, staff projects consolidation in the non-oil primary deficit. With rising interest costs, government debt stabilises towards the end of the projection period.

“Staff factors in an under-execution of capital expenditure in line with past outcomes and estimates an FGN deficit of 4.5 per cent of GDP relative to the 2024 budget target of 3.4 per cent of GDP.

“For the consolidated government, this implies a projected deficit of 4.7 per cent of GDP in 2024—compared to 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2023 measured from the financing side—which is appropriate given the large social needs and factoring in a realistic pace of revenue mobilisation.

“Based on staff’s projections, the authorities must raise the domestic and external borrowing ceilings to prevent renewed recourse to CBN financing.

“With higher interest rates, banks and nonbanks should have sufficient appetite—as indicated by market sources—conditional on careful management of system liquidity, including a likely reduction in the currently high cash reserve requirement.”

Organised labour in the country has continued to clamour for an increase in the minimum wage for government workers.

Labour leaders have demanded for N615,000 from N30,000 as salaries for lowest ranked workers, while a tripartite committee set up by the government have mulled N70,000 as the new minimum wage.

Despite the government allocating N6.48tn for personnel cost in the 2024 budget, the international lender argues that the amount may be insufficient, which could force the government to come up with a supplementary budget to fund the deficit, the report added.

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Church in Northern Province cautions against cyberspace abuse, supports cyber security law

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The church in Northern Province has issued a warning to Zambians regarding the misuse of cyberspace in the guise of human rights and media freedoms.

Bishop Elias Mponela, the Regional Coordinator of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), highlighted a concerning trend of cyberspace abuse among some Zambians during an interview with Zambia Monitor in Kasama District.

While acknowledging that every Zambian is entitled to human rights, Bishop Mponela stated the importance of not abusing these rights.

He stressed that Cyber Security Act, though beneficial, would be enforced without exceptions, regardless of one’s societal status.

“The Cyber Security Act is a necessary measure that must be implemented promptly, but with care to ensure that individuals’ rights are respected,” Mponela commented.

He expressed concern over the misuse of cyberspace by prominent figures, particularly politicians, who spread messages of hatred and division.

Mponela urged authorities to address such behavior before it escalated.

Highlighting the significance of a free media, Mponela underscored the importance of journalists operating in a conducive environment without fear of reprisal from those in power.

“Access to information is vital in today’s world, and those in authority must ensure it is guaranteed to foster an informed society,” he stated.

However, Mponela cautioned against media outlets abusing their freedom by disseminating misleading information or promoting divisiveness.

The church’s stance reflects a call for responsible use of cyberspace and a balanced approach to ensuring both freedom and accountability in media practices.

This story is sponsored content from Zambia Monitor’s Project Aliyense.

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Nigeria kicks as South African police torture citizen to death

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The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) has condemned the killing of another of its citizens, Prince Muoka Ebuka, who was reportedly tortured to death by the police on Friday, May 17, in Danielskuil, Northern Cape, over drug-related allegations.

The Union, in a statement, also demands an immediate probe into the killing of the 43-year-old businessman who hailed from Obosi in Anambra State, said the incident further highlights a disturbing trend of police abuse targeting Nigerians in the Northern Cape.

The statement issued on Saturday and signed by NUSA National Publicity Secretary, Habib Miller, indicated that the deceased was tortured to death by the police in the guise of interrogation over drug related allegations.

“Since March, there have been similar cases in Kimberley involving drug accusations and police violence. Another Nigerian, Chika Anuino, was killed by police in Springs, Johannesburg, on April 25,” the NUSA statement said.

“Reports from Ebuka’s wife, Joyce, paint a harrowing picture of law enforcement officers storming their residence, compelling her to evacuate to shield their young child from witnessing the violence.

“Ebuka was then subjected to assault and coerced to produce drugs allegedly in his possession. When their search proved fruitless, they forcibly escorted him to a waste dump, alleging he had concealed illegal substances there.

“Eyewitnesses further allege egregious misconduct, with officers resorting to coercive tactics, including requesting pepper spray after emerging from Mr Ebuka’s residence.

“Despite employing drug detection methods, no evidence was found, yet the relentless interrogation tragically led to his demise.

“Moreover, the lack of proper crime scene preservation raises grave doubts about the integrity of the investigation,” NUSA stated.

Miller noted that the incident has been further complicated by the police’s refusal to issue a statement or allow the victim’s family to open a case docket on the murder of their breadwinner, adding that the had faced intimidation from the police when she tried to report her husband’s death.

NUSA said the Union demands a thorough, impartial investigation into Prince Ebuka’s killing and the broader issue of police abuse in the Northern Cape.

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