Tom Okpe, Abuja
As the National Constitution Review hearing organised by the House of Representatives kicks off in the six geo-political zones of the country on Tuesday, local governments autonomy, their more creation with states, fiscal federalism and others take center stage of the debate.
At the Bauchi zone comprising Bauchi, Yobe and Borno States, the committee led by Aminu Suleiman heard from Governor Bala Mohammed, representatives of Yobe and Borno States and other stakeholders debated on fiscal federalism, Local Government autonomy, state police, financial independence for the judiciary and state legislatures to be included in the 1999 constitution as amended.
In his remarks, stressing why Katagum State should be created, former Head of Service, (HoS), Alhaji Ahmed Yayale said with land mass of 49, 49,919 square kilometers and population of about 10 million, should be split.
“We are in support of Federal structure in governance and power devolution, Bauchi is in full support of the existing arrangement comprising federal, state and local government.
“That arrangement should be maintained in the constitution. The constitution should be amended to give more powers to those tiers with concomitant review of revenue allocation formula to make more funds available to the states and LGs to discharge their additional responsibilities given to them.
“The constitution should be amended to allow for the establishment of state police since the states are in autonomous powers, they should have agencies to execute powers vested in them by the constitution.
“Under the present arrangement, governors do not have powers to direct commissioners, police in their respective states. Bauchi state recommend that appropriate legal frameworks be put in place to allay the fears of likely abuse of the state police by state governors.
“In order to address this unjust and unfair treatment, we as a state and a people, know, we have the respect and sympathy for corporate Nigerians, Katagum state should be created out of Bauchi, and additional LGs should also, be created so that we can be at par with other states that are having more LGs than us,” Yayale noted.
The elder statesman also agitated for constitutional role for traditional rulers saying, “as custodians of our culture and traditions, they have not been recognized by the 1999 constitution.”
He said that traditional rulers have been involved in the maintenance of law and order in their respective domains adding that “traditional rulers have the capacity to help the government in her quest to foster development because when colonial masters came, they used them to rule indirectly,” decrying that the traditional institution has been left to suffer redundancy despite their strategic role in their respective domains.
Chairman, House of Representatives committee on review of the Constitution, Bauchi zone, Aminu Sulaiman in his earlier remarks noted said areas that needs attention in the review of the 1999 constitution includes, defence and security, land use act, unity of Nigeria, devolution of power, derivation and revenue sharing, state police, local governments autonomy, role of traditional rulers among others.
He commended the support of Governor Bala Mohammed to the committee which he said will go a long way in ensuring success of the assignment.
The speaker, Bauchi State House of Assembly, commends the national assembly for taking the bull by the horns to alter the constitution.
He noted that people are aware that the constitution needs to be altered, assuring that houses of assembly members across the country will give them all the needed support.
States and Local Governments agitated for are, Katagum from old Bauchi, Savanah from old Borno State, Bura LG from old Ningi in Bauchi State, Fune LG from old Jajere and a new Jajere local government in Yobe State.
Members of the Committee are Dr Aminu Suleiman representing Fagge constituency, Kano, who is the Chairman, Auwal Jatau Mohammed from Bauchi, Afe Oberuakpefe from Delta, Olatunbosun Olajide Boladele from Oyo and Bio Omar Mohammed from Kwara State.
KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months
- 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.
Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs
- 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.
Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud
- 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.