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Governor Bala wants Katagum State, local govts carved out of Bauchi

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By Tom Okpe

Bauchi state Governor, Bala Mohammed has called on the National Assembly to consider the creation of Katagum state and more local government Areas, out of the present Bauchi state in order to foster development.

The Governor, speaking during the Bauchi zonal Public Hearing comprising Bauchi, Yobe and Borno States, conducted by the House of Representatives Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution noted that there are states today, that are not as big as Bauchi.

He also noted that Bauchi state which has been a safe haven for IDPs from neighboring states have been overstretched in terms of infrastructural facilities.

According to Bala, there was also the need for the present 1999 constitution amendment committee of the National Assembly to create way for state police to ensure effective policing.

He said: “We were here last week to welcome distinguish senators when the same exercise took place here and today, we are privileged to also welcome the other bicameral arm of the national assembly who have come to discharge this very important duty.

“This indeed is a mark, different between the unelected constitutional assembly that drafted the 1999 constitution and the elected national assembly that we now have in place.

“The constituent assembly that was appointed by the military government have no regards for the views and interest of the people. 

“The democratically elected National Assembly is now going round to seek the inputs of the people towards amending the constitution, that is the marked difference.”

The Governor said Nigeria needs a constitution that will serve the interest of the people, adding that the 1999 constitution that ushered in the current democratic dispensation has not only been widely criticised for not holistically addressing the yearnings and aspirations of the people but because of its many gaps.

“There was the need for a workable and acceptable constitution, adding that there should be a clear command structure of the military which concentrate enormous powers at the center as manifested in the 1999 constitution.

“The Constituent units of the Nigerian federation represented by the current 36 states and the FCT and 774 LGs are nearer to the people that must be given enough powers with concomitant resources to discharge their responsibilities so as to positively impact in the lives of the people at the grassroot.

“The state must be seen to be a truly autonomous entity with powers to run their affairs, that is what is called true federalism in all ramifications.”

He said that the participatory approach adopted by the national assembly in amendment of the constitution is expected to produce a people’s constitution that will address the myriads of socioeconomic and political problems of Nigeria, hoping that the current effort will produce a document that will serve the interest of the generality of the people.

He said the state supports establishment ofState Police, more states and local government should be created from the present day Bauchi State.

“With the land mass of 49, 49,919 square kilometers and population of about 10 million, now because of immigration and population explosion,the population of Bauchi has risen to this number because of the influx of IDPs from neighboring states due to Ethno religious crises and the Boko Haram insurgency.

“In order to address this unjust and unfair treatment, we as a state and a people, know we have the respect and the sympathy for corporate Nigeria, that Katagum state should be created out of Bauchi state and additional LGs should also, be created so that we can be at par with other states that are having more LGs than us.”

He also agitated Constitutional role be given to traditional rulers saying, “as custodians of our culture and traditions, have not been recognized by the 1999 constitution.”

 Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Aminu Sulaiman, from Kano State in his earlier remarks 

noted that on behalf of the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase assured that the committee will do justice to all requests on this onerous task.

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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months

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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months


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A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya Airways will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.
  • The airline in a notice to its customers yesterday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.

The airline in a notice to its customers Monday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

The airline will then resume full operations on the route on September 20, flying three times per week on the Indian route, which is one of the most lucrative destinations on its network.

Passengers on the route will part with Sh46,000 ($419) for one-way air ticket on economy class seats from Nairobi to Mumbai- prices that are relatively the same compared to what it was charging before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Welcome back onboard! Fly from Nairobi to Mumbai starting Thursday 16th September with normal schedules resuming from Monday 20th September 2021,” said the airline in a notice to its customers yesterday.

KQ Suspended passenger flights to and from Mumbai on April 30 until further notice, following a government directive on travel between India and Kenya due to a Covid-19 crisis in that country.

The airline said on Friday that passengers who had booked tickets after May 1, the date of the last flight from Mumbai to Nairobi, will have to change their plans.

Affected passengers, KQ said, could also take vouchers for the value of their fare for future travel within 12 months.

India has seen soaring infection rates in the recent days, since the discovery of a new virus variant. Last month, India put on lockdown one of the states following a spike in cases of Covid-19.

Other countries that have banned flights to India include France, the UK Bangladesh, Oman and Hong Kong that have banned travel to and from India or asked their nationals coming from the Asian country to isolate themselves in government-approved hotels.

India has so far detected 33,264,175 corona virus cases with the number of deaths hitting 442,874 as at September 13.

A large number of patients from Kenya also travel to India every year for specialised medical treatment, especially cancer care, helping to drive medical tourism in the densely populated country that boasts affordable and easily accessible healthcare.

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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs

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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs


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Man pulls a cart loaded with second-hand clothes at Gikomba Market in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.
  • Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.
  • Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

The average price of a tonne of second-hand clothing items imported into the country crossed the Sh100,000 mark for the first time last year on reduced volumes in the wake of safety protocols and guidelines to curb spread of coronavirus.

Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.

Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

Last year’s drop was the first dip since 2011 when 76,533 tonnes were shipped in compared with 80,423 tonnes the previous year, the official data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.

The import bill for the merchandise amounted to Sh12.24 billion, a drop of 31.11 percent, or Sh5.53 billion, year-on-year.

TIn imposing the temporary ban on used clothes, Kebs had applied a standard which prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics to ensure disease-causing microorganisms are not imported into Kenya.

Higher quality and relatively lower prices for mitumba has continued to drive demand for used clothes at expense of locally-made products amid higher margins enjoyed by traders largely operating in informal markets.

The lucrative second-hand clothing market has seen traders from China —a key source market for the merchandise —open shops in Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for mitumba, in recent years to cash in rising demand.

Earnings from exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 5.32 percent to Sh32.92 billion last year compared with 2019, data indicates.

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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud

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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud


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Cotu boss Francis Atwoli. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.
  • Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.

Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

Mr Atwoli is the secretary-general of KPAWU. The rival union claimed KPAWU had encroached on its area of workers’ representation.

Justice James Rika, however, dismissed the claim and ruled that the dispute should have been taken through conciliation, and was therefore presented in court prematurely.

He also stated that Kefhau must go beyond its registration and recruit sufficient members from the employers, to be granted recognition and organisational rights.

“Registration on its own, does not afford the claimant (Kefhau) recognition. Until there is proof that Kefhau has satisfied Section 54 of the Labour Relations Act, the status quo must be maintained,” said the judge.

“Kefhau must recruit at least 50 percent plus one, of the unionisable employees in the floriculture and horticulture industry, members of the Agricultural Employers Association to be considered for recognition,” he stated.

He noted that there is a Recognition Agreement and CBA, binding Mr Atwoli’s union and Agricultural Employers Association, affecting 73 Flower Growers Group of employers, and over 60,000 employees.

“It is objectionable for Kefhau to be allowed organisational rights, and the legitimacy to receive trade union dues and agency fees, from over 60,000 employees, just on the strength of registration as a trade union,” said the judge.

Kefhau wanted the court to declare that it is the sole trade union, which is allowed by its constitution to carry out activities in the export floriculture and vegetable industry, and an order restraining Mr Atwoli’s from representing workers in that area.

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