Controversies in oil assets divestments hinder local participation

rubbermarketnews_RMN_brent_crude_oil_05008 April 2014, Lagos – The international oil companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria began divestment from some onshore and shallow-water assets in the Niger delta region about four years ago. The reasons for the spate of divestments by oil major were many and varied.

A lot of people initially thought the divestments of the oil and gas assets by Shell, Total and Chevron was an indication that they were exiting from Nigeria, where they had operated for decades. Many others feared the oil companies were closing some Nigerian operations owing to the harsh operating environment and industry uncertainties as a result of the long-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Providing clarifications on the divestment programme, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke had explained that it does not have any negative implication for either the Nigerian petroleum industry or the IOC’s operations. She said it would instead increase participation of Nigerian companies in the upstream sector.

Also, Country Chair cum Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu explained that the divestment from the onshore and shallow water assets, initiated by Shell would enhance local capacity in the oil industry. By buying assets divested by oil majors, most Nigerian companies have become fully fledged exploration and production companies.

It was projected that crude oil production from oil fields operated by indigenous oil companies in Nigeria, which currently stands at about three per cent or 80,000 barrels per day will rise to about 400,000 barrels per day in the next three years.

Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Limited, Mr. Austin Avuru while speaking at a recent energy forum attributed the anticipated growth in indigenous companies’ oil production to the current release of oil blocks to the local companies by Shell and its partners.

Nigerian companies that have benefited from the divestment programme include Seplat, Waltersmith Petroman, Shoreline Natural Resources, Afren, First Hydrocarbon, Nestoil, Elland Petroleum, Starcrest among others.

Controversial Deals
The divestment programme has in recent generated a lot of controversies, which have stalled completion of some of the transactions. For instance, the attempt by Shell and its multinational partners to sell four of its onshore oil blocks in 2011 was dogged in controversy following the decision of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to assume operatorship of the oil blocks.

Nigerian companies that submitted bids for the Oil Mining Leases 30, 34, 40 and 42 were Conoil, belonging to telecom, banking, and oil and gas mogul, Dr. Mike Adenuga, which offered $1.29 billion for OML 30; Nestoil in partnership with Polish-based Kulczyk Oil Ventures Inc and Folawiyo Energy; Eland-Starcrest Consortium, which offered $157 for OML 40; and Niger Delta Exploration & Production, which offered $600 million for OML 34.

Some of the bidders had accused Shell of leading them astray by making promises that NNPC might waive its right to operatorship, if they could use their influence with the presidency and Ministry of Petroleum Resources to convince NNPC to transfer its operating rights in the blocks.

They had complained that Shell was convinced that they would be able to strike the same deal it struck for OMLs 4, 38 and 41 which it sold to the Seplat Consortium, jointly owned by French oil firm, Maurel & Prom, Platform Petroleum Limited and Shebah Petroleum Development Company Ltd. Under that deal, operatorship of the three blocks was transferred to Seplat. The same was applicable to Afren Energy Plc when it took over OML 26 from Shell, Total and Agip.

However, the NNPC’s decision to exercise its right to operate the blocks generated a lot of controversies and stalled the completion of the transaction. Shoreline, the preferred bidder and its partners, Heritage Oil stepped into the deal because Shell was unable to close the transaction with Conoil, nine months after. The block was eventually sold to the company (Shoreline) in 2013.

Also, Chevron’s plan to sell three blocks had been stalled in a legal battle, following allegation that it planned to sideline the highest bidder. Brittania-U said it emerged as the highest bidder, offering $1.015 billion, while Seplat and its partners came second with about $900 million offer.

The alleged moves by Chevron Nigeria and its parent company, Chevron USA Incorporated to ignore the result of the competitive bid conducted for the sale of Chevron’s 40 per cent interest in the three oil blocks, prompted Brittania-U to head to court.

Oando/Conoco Deal
It has been roughly 16 months since Oando Energy Resources (OER), an affiliate of Oando Plc entered into agreements with ConocoPhillips to acquire its entire business interests in Nigeria for $1.79 billion. Specifically, the agreement, which covered Conoco’s interest in Brass Liquefied Natural Gas was sealed on December 20, 2012.

Group Chief Executive, Oando Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu had emphatically stated that the proposed acquisition to be financed with debt and equity, was anticipated to close during the first half of 2013, following appropriate consultations with stakeholders. He said the closing of the transaction would position OER as a leading, indigenous independent Exploration and Production Player in Nigeria.

But 16 months down the line, the transaction has not been completed.  Sources familiar with the deal hinted that the delay was chiefly due to Oando’s inability to raise funds for the assets. The oil firm had paid an initial deposit of $450 million. It also received additional funds through debt commitment letters received from financial institutions ($815 million), private placement of shares ($200 million), and the sale of its EHGC asset to Seven Energy for $250 million.


Unending Delays
A report released by SBG Securities Oil & Gas Analyst, Gbenga Sholotan in January indicated that Oando had succeeded in securing all financing required towards the acquisition of ConocoPhillip’s entire Nigerian.

Sholotan confirmed that Oando recently raised an aggregate of US$442m through the sale of the East Horizon Gas Company for $250 million and a special placement of 2.05bn shares for $192 million. He said “all funding sources have now been secured to be in a position to close the ConocoPhillips Nigeria (COPN) asset acquisition.”

Also, Head of investor relations in the firm, Tokunbo Akindele said barring any adjustments the transaction should be due to close at the end of January. He explained that the acquisition was adjusted downward after the Brass LNG asset was taken out.

But following the inability of the company to meet up with the necessary requirements, it was unable to close the deal in January and thereafter announced March ending as expected date for the completion of the deal. But as the March date could not be actualised, the company has again announced April 30, for the completion of the proposed acquisition of ConocoPhillips Nigerian assets.

The two parties were said to have extended the timeframe to satisfy all closing conditions and also give the Minister of Petroleum Resources time to accord her consent to the transaction.

“In consideration of this extension, Oando consented to increase its deposit by $25 million on April 17, 2014, if the consent of the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources is not received on or before April 11, 2014. As we approach the final stage of creating Africa’s leading indigenous independent oil and gas company, we have committed to increasing our deposit as a goodwill gesture to ConocoPhillips, whilst we continue to work together to fulfill all conditions precedent for closure of this transaction,” Tinubu was quoted as saying last week.

Looming Brick Wall
Indication that the deal may encounter some hitches emerged last week when the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), oil and gas industry regulator revealed that documents on the oil field transaction, which commenced since 2012 were submitted to the Minister of Petroleum only about two months ago.

The DPR Director, Mr. George Osahon faulted alleged statement by Oando, which suggested that its planned acquisition of Conoco’s Nigerian assets was being threatened by delay by the Minister of Petroleum Resources to consent to the deal.
Osahon said such claims amounted to deliberate arm-twisting tactics adopted by parties in the deal, Oando and Conoco to force the federal government into signing off the $1.55 billion oil assets acquisition deal without due diligence on the transaction.

The DPR boss insisted that reports alleging that Alison-Madueke has deliberately refused to consent to the deal were untrue, especially in the light of the processes and timeframe involved in the transaction.

Osahon said the documents to the oil field transaction were only submitted to the minister two months ago to “rubberstamp” the transaction without the DPR conducting statutory due diligence on the transaction, and after Oando and COP had concluded their negotiations amongst others.

Insisting that the process was patently wrong and a direct affront to the government, which he said was not carried along as expected from both parties, Osahon also berated the oil firm over its pronouncement that the acquisition process had lingered for 15 months.

He said: “I am shocked that they will allow this to go out, imagine that their 15 months quest was only submitted to government two months ago. They should please allow us to do our job but by sensationalising the process, there is too much focus on the ridiculous rather than the substance. It is deliberate arm-twisting tactics to get the minister to short-circuit the 15 months process.”

The DPR director also raised very vital issues such as the company’s capacity and capability to effectively operate the block.

He said: “The transaction could not have been subjected to some due diligence based on the fact that they have commenced that transaction but what are we looking at? Do they have the financial muscle, do they have the technical wherewithal to do it and are they in good standing for them to be able to do that.”

Furthermore, he clarified: “Some of the issues in this transaction is that when they are under due diligence, whatever we do, we keep our mouth shut. They are seeking for deep offshore blocks but the question is, has the company operated a deep offshore block before, if not, what is required for them to operate it effectively because, if they don’t, government loses, everything is about government losing.
Industry Experts React
Most industry experts who commented on the development at the weekend noted that some powerful Nigerians in oil industry believed they could use their influence with the presidency to convince the Minister of Petroleum Resources to consent to their deals without following due process.

They recalled that erroneous misconception that NNPC might waive its right to operatorship, if influential bidders could use their influence with the presidency and Ministry of Petroleum Resources to convince NNPC to transfer its operating rights in the blocks hampered Conoil’s bid to acquire Shell’s interest in OML 30, despite emerging the highest bidder with  $1.29 billion for the oil block.

They also observed that oil companies are not transparent in the bid process and queried why a company that does not have the financial muscle and technical wherewithal should be shortlisted in the first place.

Aparently referring to comments by SBG Securities Oil & Gas Analyst, Sholotan in January that Oando does not “consider the need to obtain the minister of petroleum’s consent as a major risk to the transaction”, a source at the NNPC said perhaps top management of Oando thought they could “use their Aso Rock connections to get express consent of the minister of petroleum.”

To avoid unnecessary controversies that pose an obstruction for the whole essence of the divestment programme, they urged that IOCs and the local firms should conduct the exercise in transparent manner.


Caption: Power installation

Failed Expectations in Electricity Supply in Q1

With chronic shortage of gas, low water levels at the hydro power stations and emerging challenges of a private sector-driven electricity market, Ejiofor Alike writes that power generation in the first quarter of 2014 dropped to an all-time low
With the country just emerging from the successful handover of the assets of  the defunct PHCN to the private sector in November 2013, there were high hopes of immediate improvement in electricity generation at the beginning of 2014.

The high expectations were fueled on one hand by the failure of the government-owned PHCN to deliver power to Nigerians and on the hand, by the hope and anxiety generated during the14 years of painstaking efforts by the administrations of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the current administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to transfer the power sector to private investors.

The journey actually started in 1999, when former President Obasanjo inaugurated the Electric Power Implementation Committee, which developed the National Electric Power Policy in 2001.

The enactment of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act of 2005; establishment of PHCN; repeal of the Act that established the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and the creation of 18 successor companies from the PHCN – six generation companies; one transmission company and 11 distribution companies were part of the initial stages of the reform.

The EPSR Act of 2005 also created the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to regulate the entry and operations of the private sector in terms of the tariff and service delivery.

The implementation of the EPSR Act was briefly suspended by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, before President Jonathan, restarted the privatisation of the assets of the PHCN in December 2010, four months after he inaugurated the Power Roadmap in Lagos on August 27, 2010.

On March 30, 2012, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) issued the revised bidding documents to bidders, while the final comments were received on April 20.
The Federal Government, through the BPE handed over the assets of the assets of PHCN to the private investors on November 1, 2013.

With the successful handover of the assets to the private sector, there were high hopes that electricity supply would show unprecedented improvement, after several years of failed promises by NEPA and later PHCN but certain factors militated against this dream.

Low Water Levels

The cyclic drop in the levels of water at the hydro power stations during the period of February, March, April and part of May every year affected electricity generation during the first quarter of 2014.

The hydro power stations at Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba witness a drop in water levels, which is referred to as “low deep”, which is a cyclic natural phenomenon that occur during the first quarter of every year as a result of drought.

The situation has worsened in recent years by poor water management and lack of maintenance of the hydro stations, which on many occasions, has resulted in excessive leakage of water in the dams during this critical period of the year.

All the five units in the 760megawatt capacity Kainji Electricity Power Station generated about 330megawatts; while Jebba generated between 418megawatts at peak periods and 339megawatts at off-peak.

The 600megawatts capacity Shiroro Station generates between 409megawatts and 320megawatts.

But during the first quarter 2014, Shiroro was also shut down, resulting to a drop in power generation by over 300megawatts, thereby worsening the power supply situation.

Also as predicted by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), the drop in seasonal rainfall, especially in the north, forced the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) power rationing.

The Managing Director of TCN, Mr. Mark Karst, Karst had told THISDAY that the decision became necessary in view of the constraints in power generation which had seen electricity contributions from the country’s hydro power plants dip with the shutdown of the Shiroro power plant in Niger State.

He explained that Shiroro had remained shut down due to low water level at its reservoirs, adding that the generation company now hopes to garner considerable amount of water into its reservoirs with the imminent rainfalls.

Shortage of Gas/Vandalism

The Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, had said the solution to the cyclical problems at the hydro stations was to increase gas supply to the gas-fired power stations to compensate for the expected fall in generation from the hydro stations.

“The answer to the cyclical hydro problem is to increase gas supply so that we can compensate the expected fall in hydro power generation to the national grid by enhanced supply from gas turbines,” he said.

Amadi said if there was enough gas to support the thermal stations, the generation from the thermal plants would compensate for the expected drop from the hydro stations.

With sufficient gas to support additional capacity at the thermal plants, there is no doubt that there will always be “spinning reserve” to take over when the water levels drop.

But instead of gas supply to increase and boost generation at the gas-fired power stations so as to compensate for the drop in generation at the hydro stations, the supply of gas to the generating stations during the period under review was grossly inadequate due to vandalism of pipelines.

Pipeline vandalism disrupted power supply during the first quarter, with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) claiming that about N800 million had been spent on the repair of the pipelines.

Over 30 percent or 480million standard cubic feet per day ( MMsf/d) of the installed gas supply capacity was out during the period due mainly to vandalism.

The lost gas was equivalent to the gas requirement to generate about 1,600 megawatts of electricity.

The pipelines involved were the Escravos-Warri stretch of the Escravos Lagos Pipeline (ELPS) which accounted for (190 mmcf/d) and the Trans-Forcados crude pipeline (230 mmcf/d).

An explosion was said to have rocked the ELPS and NNPC’s investigation revealed that a dynamite was used on four ruptured points on June 25, 2013.
Engineers from the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of the NNPC carried out repair works, but as repairs progressed, more points of rupture emerged.
Though the lines have been repaired, electricity generation which hit an all-time high of over 4,700mw in 2012, averaged between 3,500 and 2,500megawatts at the first quarter of 2014.

Non-Implementation of TEM
A major setback in Nigeria’s electricity market during the first quarter of 2014 was the non-declaration of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM), which was slated for March 1, 2014.

This setback largely followed the persistent inadequate gas supply to the various power generating plants nationwide.

When declared, TEM will make it mandatory for the NGC, a subsidiary of the NNPC, to be sanctioned in the event of failure to deliver on its gas supply commitments to the power producers, in line with the Gas Supply Agreement (GSA) signed in 2013.

With TEM also, any power generating station that fails to deliver on its electricity supply commitment to the national grid in accordance with the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) signed with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc, otherwise called the Bulk Trader, will also be sanctioned.

Actionable agreements, which have since been signed but awaiting implementation, pending the declaration of TEM, include Transmission Use of Service Agreements (TUOS); Grid Connection Agreements; Ancillary Services Agreement; Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs); Gas Supply Aggregation Agreements (GSAAs) and Gas Transportation Agreement (GTAs).

The GSA obligates the gas supplier to provide the agreed minimum amount and quality of gas to the power producers.

The agreement also obligates the power producers to pay for gas supplied and provides for penalties for non-delivery of the required gas and non-payment for the gas delivered.

It was gathered that of all the agreements that are awaiting implementation, the GSA posed the greatest threat to the declaration of TEM because of the persistent interruption in gas supply to the power producers.

Up till now, all the gas-fired power stations are operating below half of their available capacity because of the inadequacy in gas supply.
The shortage has been blamed on the sabotage of the Escravos-Warri-Lagos Gas Pipeline network by vandals, saboteurs and suspected aggrieved inhabitants of Ogidigben, Ajadiabo, Escravos, Gbaramatu and Ugborodo communities in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

Chevron Nigeria Limited, for instance, has not been able to pipe 350 million standard cubic feet of gas per day additional commitment because of the vandalism of the Escravos pipeline network.

If TEM were to be declared in the face of chronic gas shortages to the power sector, NGC would pay huge penalties for failure to meet its gas supply obligations to the power producers.

Under TEM that was supposed to have taken off on March 1, the PPAs signed by NBET and the power producers obligate the producers to deliver agreed electricity capacity and energy to the national grid.

The agreements also obligate NBET to pay for the capacity and the energy delivered while penalties exist for non-delivery by the power producers and non-payment by NBET.

However, notwithstanding the challenges experienced in power generation during the first quarter of 2014, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said it was anticipating increased generation and distribution of electricity to about 7,000mw within the year.

NERC expected the increment from the coming on stream of power projects executed under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs).

But NERC’s 7,000mw projection by the end of this year will remain a pipe dream unless there is a boost in gas supply to raise generation beyond the current average of 3,500mw, a level, which it attained since 2007.

Indeed, Nigerians eargerly monitored the progress of the sale of the assets with the hope that the transfer of the power assets to the private sector would immediately translate to improvement in supply but i twas a forlon hope because of the fundamental problems in the sector.

The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) approved nine prequalified bidders for the GENCOs on August 14, 2012 while 31 prequalified bidders were approved by NCP for  the DISCOs on September 18, 2012.

The financial bid opening ceremony was held on September 25, 2012 for the Gencos and October 16, 2012 for the Discos NCP on October 29, 2012 approved the five preferred bidders for Genco & 10 preferred bidders for Disco.

The emergence of preferred bidders triggered the process of negotiations of the share sale agreement, according to the Director General of BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki.

The privatisation agency held negotiations with bidders in January 2013, while the transaction and industry documents signed with all parties on February 21, 2013
The signed document automatically required bidders to pay 25per cent of the acquisition cost by March 21, 2013 and the balance of 75per cent by August 21, 2013.

The assets were handed over to the successful bidders on November 1, 2013, after labour liabilities of 38, 615 workers were paid.

The BPE has also concluded the evaluation of proposals for Kaduna Disco and Afam Genco, with Northwest Power Consortium and Taleveras Group emerging as preferred bidders respectively.
Caption:  National Conference in session

Social Dialogue, Industrial Harmony and National Development
Chika Onuegbu

Enthroning and maintaining an atmosphere of industrial peace and harmony in the nation’s health sector and in any sector for that matter is a joint responsibility of all the parties to industrial relations in the health sector.

It is a function of the actions and inactions of all the parties and therefore requires the determination, commitment, collaboration and mutual understanding of the key parties (i.e. Labour Unions, Employers, Government and her agencies). And this is where social dialogue and tripartism comes in.

Dialogue, when done honestly, has been identified as a veritable means of resolving all grievances and conflicts. This has also been accepted by practitioners of industrial relations and the International labour organisation. In fact one of four key strategic objectives of the ILO is the promotion  and strengthening of social dialogue.

This is because the ILO places premium on dialogue and  cooperation among governments, employers’ organizations and workers’ organisations in fostering social and economic progress. Dialogue among and between the governments and the two “social partners” promotes consensus building and democratic involvement of those with vital stakes in the world of work. Also social dialogue is key to the achievement of all the other objectives of the ILO.

Key Concepts
At this point, we want to seek an understanding of the key words that have presented themselves within the context of our presentation.

Social Dialogue
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Social dialogue includes: all types of negotiation, consultation or simply exchange of information between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers, on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy.

It can exist as a tripartite process, with the government as an official party to the dialogue or it may consist of bipartite relations only between labour and management (or trade unions and employers’ associations), with or without indirect government involvement.

Social dialogue processes can be informal or institutionalised, and often it is a combination of the two. It can take place at the national, regional or at enterprise level. It can be inter-professional, sectoral or a combination of these two.
The main aim of social dialogue is promotion of consensus building and democratic involvement of the main stakeholders in the world of work regarding  the terms and conditions of work and employment.

However in order for social dialogue to take place, the following according to the ILO must exist: strong, independent workers’ and employers’ organisations with the technical capacity and the access to relevant information to participate in social dialogue; political will and commitment to engage in social dialogue on the part of all the parties; respect for the fundamental rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining; and appropriate institutional support.

Let me also clarify that social dialogue must necessarily include the implementation of the agreements that have been reached. This is because without the implementation of the agreements reached by way of social dialogue, the process will end up a waste of time. Therefore an important aspect of Social dialogue is the more or less binding character of Social Dialogue outcomes.

The functions of dialogue might range from a weak level of communication and information only, without any necessary commitment to reaching concrete policy outcomes, to effective negotiations with legally binding or non-binding outcomes.

Industrial Harmony
Industrial harmony is a simple and yet complex term to define. It is essentially the atmosphere of industrial peace. Peace as we know is not necessarily the absence of violence. So also industrial peace is not necessarily the absence of industrial crises.

Please permit me to acknowledge that industrial peace and harmony has a slender body, the strength of which is determined by the amount of justice done to the human dignity in workplace relationship.

Where the human dignity is treated without respect and as an economic unit, there is no gainsaying that any ‘peace’ enjoyed is only temporary. Industrial peace and harmony therefore requires the commitment and deliberate actions of all parties geared towards the enthronement of peace and harmony.

To this end we want to state that we are not unmindful of how some obnoxious laws and mischievous loopholes in our labour laws have been exploited by some employers and institutions to perpetrate injustice and evil against Nigerian workers.

To this end, permit me to reproduce the words of the learned professor of law Prof. Egerton E. Uvieghare in a paper titled “The Role of the Judiciary in Industrial Harmony” presented to the 2007 All Nigeria Judges’ Conference.

In the paper he observed that “It is obvious that if the Judiciary is called upon to administer unjust and obnoxious laws it cannot be expected and would be unable to earn the respect which is desired or it expects in order to engender industrial harmony.

“The Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution provides in Section 17(3) that the state shall direct its policy towards ensuring that (a) all citizens, without discrimination on any ground whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment; (b) conditions of work are just and humane; (c) the health, safety and welfare of all persons in employment are safe –guarded and not endangered or abused; (d) there is equal pay for equal work without discrimination on account of sex, or on any other ground whatsoever.”

We are also not unaware that history is replete with the struggle and determination of the human race to fight oppressive laws and relationships. Accordingly also, we would like to draw the attention of the Ministry of Health and the Government at all levels  to the observation by Jibrin Ibrahim and Toure Kazah-Toure.

They said inter Alia that “the development of democratic culture is dependent on the existence of a modern state that can protect the rights of its citizens and extract duties from them. Modern states are characterised by the practice of equity, the rule of law and the search for legitimacy. The legitimacy of the state is linked to its capacity to present itself as a provider of necessary public goods and more important, a neutral arbiter that guarantees the security of all sections of society. When the state is generally perceived as serving the particularistic interests of one group, it starts losing its legitimacy, and indeed, its authority. As state capacity declines, fear of ‘the other’ rises and inhabitants of the state resort to other levels of solidarity.”
It is therefore clear that ‘harmony’ and industrial ‘peace’ cannot be imposed on the parties to industrial relations in any guise whatsoever. It can only be achieved via social dialogue in an environment of humane labour laws.

This is so because unjust and obnoxious labour laws create a serious barrier to dialogue and ultimately leads to industrial crises. It creates a false sense of peace for the organisations and institutions that rely solely on such laws as the basis for industrial relations.

It also makes it difficult for ordinary people to see the government or the relevant institutions as a neutral arbiter and thus creates an environment of doubt as to whether the government could reasonably be expected to guarantee the welfare, security and safety of the workers who are usually at the receiving end of such laws.

This of course will give a renewed impetus to solidarity among the workers as well as create a bonding effect for the workers’ struggle. History is replete with examples! Unjust and obnoxious laws cannot and should not howsoever be relied upon to create an enduring atmosphere of industrial peace and harmony in any society, ours inclusive.

It is therefore our earnest desire and expectations that the laws and government policies in a constitutional democracy will reflect the popular will of the people. Such laws should be the outcome of consultations with key stakeholders with a view to addressing their concerns and carrying them along.

It is also  for this reason that we had always insisted on  proper and adequate consultation, involvement and engagement of organised labour before passing any law or coming out with any policy that will affect or likely to affect the workers. This is to ensure that such laws and/or policies adequately address the concern(s) of workers before they come into force.

National Development:
When development is mentioned, what readily comes to mind is progress; a movement forward from the status quo and an advancement upwards from the previous position.

National development is an attempt to describe the dynamics of a nation in terms of its ability to provide for its citizenry: providing security of lives and properties; granting access to quality and affordable educational system; good health care; an overarching need for a greater access to food and affordable housing; the provisioning of both emotive, psychological and spiritual needs of the citizenry in a sustainable way.

Essentially it  is  the general and sustained improvement in all aspect of a nation and her people.

The quest of every nation is to attain a position where it is constantly able to provide for its citizens at all times both now and in the future.

Development Economics and social analysts have created many constructs to attempt to capture and quantify the development index of any nation. In essence many indices have been put forward to explain at a glance the outlook of a nation’s development effort. Some of these indices are; the Gross Domestic Product, Gross National Income, National Productivity index, the National manufacturing index, the gni – coefficient, the Poverty index and other macro and micro indicators.



– Chika Amanze-Nwachuku, This Day

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