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DVLA staff to get payments worth £735 as government seeks to avoid strikes

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DVLA staff to get payments worth £735 as government seeks to avoid strikes

Staff at the DVLA have been promised payments worth £735 as the government seeks to avoid strike action that risks exacerbating the backlog of tens of thousands of licences awaiting renewal.

It is understood the money will come in two payments, and has been offered as though unrelated to the fact the PCS trade union is currently balloting staff over renewed strike action.

DVLA employees have been locked in a bitter dispute with management for months over the safety of employees asked to work through the pandemic in the agency’s Swansea headquarters, where the PCS says there have been more than 900 Covid cases.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has been under pressure to resolve the dispute, with the availability of licences for HGV drivers regarded as critical to tackling the supply crunch that has seen retailers warn about empty shelves at Christmas.

The DVLA said last week that it had 54,000 HGV licences awaiting processing – many of them renewals.

An agreement on safety and the return to the workplace was reached in June with the management of the DVLA, but the PCS claims it was unpicked at the last minute.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, told the Guardian his members had been unfairly blamed for the DVLA’s failure to draw up plans to deal with the backlog of licences awaiting renewal.

“Deflecting on to the civil service or the union is an easy out for them,” he said, adding, “it is in crisis down there – and in any other organisation you would have expected them to want to find a resolution when there was one there.”

Turnout in the PCS’s last ballot of staff earlier this year was only just over the 50% legal threshold for triggering industrial action. If the PCS wins this time it plans to hold further stoppages over safety, despite the £735 payments.

Meanwhile more than a thousand driving examiners are to strike for two days next week at another Department for Transport agency, the DVSA, over workloads.

Examiners, about 200 of whom also test HGV drivers, have been asked to carry out eight tests a day instead of the current seven – something the PCS claims is unsafe and would lead to burnout. The roads minister, Charlotte Vere, visited the DVLA on Thursday and met staff.

Shapps recently announced that the army would be drafted in to boost the DVSA’s capacity to offer HGV tests but the organisation has not been given other additional resources to resolve the post-Covid backlog.

Serwotka said: “The two organisations have one common denominator, which is that they’re both in the Department for Transport – and the Department for Transport is really poorly managed and has a very poor record of industrial relations.”

He added that the prime minister’s rhetoric in his party conference speech about a high wage, high investment economy did not appear to apply to workers such as those in the DVLA and DVSA. “It seems that whoever else they say they have in mind, they certainly don’t mean people on the frontline of the pandemic,” he said.

A DVLA spokesperson said the payments to staff were “local recognition awards … [that] form part of a civil service-wide recognition scheme and are in no way linked to the industrial action”.

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Business

New Naira Notes Ready For Issuance- CBN

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said the newly redesigned Naira notes are already in banks and ready for issuance.

In a statement on its official twitter handle, the CBN quoted Emefiele to have made the disclosure in Daura, Katsina State, while on a visit to brief the president on the Naira redesign and the recently reintroduced cashless policy.

“The newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes are now in banks and ready for issuance to members of the public,” the statement said.

The CBN governor clarified that the currency redesign and reintroduced cashless policies were not targeted at anybody but were for the good and development of the Nigerian economy, and urged Nigerians to embrace the various electronic channels available for banking and financial service transactions in Nigeria.

Emefiele further said the CBN deferred the cashless policy severally to prepare and deepen Nigeria’s payments system infrastructure.

He, therefore, advised Nigerians to take their old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes to the banks before the January 31, 2023 deadline.

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Business

NIBSS Says e-Payment Transactions Hit N38.9trn In November

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) has revealed that transactions worth N38.9 trillion were performed electronically in November through the NIBSS Instant Payment platform (NIP).

This is the highest monthly transaction record on the platform.

Compared with the N34.5 trillion recorded in the preceding month, the November figure also shows a 12.7 per cent increase.

The latest data also shows that the November figure brought the total value of NIP deals in the last 11 months to N345 trillion.

Year on year, the e-payment value increased by 50 per cent compared with the N25.9 trillion recorded in November last year.

The value of the e-payment recorded was a reflection of the increase in the volume of deals within the month. The NIP volume rose to 492.2 million in November, showing a 53.8 per cent increase over the N319.9 million recorded in the same period last year.

The NIP is an account-number-based, online-real-time Inter-Bank payment solution developed in the year 2011 by NIBSS. It is the Nigerian financial industry’s preferred funds transfer platform that guarantees instant value to the beneficiary.

According to NIBSS, over the years, Nigerian banks have exposed NIP through their various channels, that is, internet banking, bank branch, Kiosks, mobile apps, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), POS, ATMs, etc. to their customers.

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Business

CBN Insists It Won’t Reverse New Withdrawal Policy

Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank, says there would be no reversal on the new cash withdrawal policy adding that the limitations was not intended to hurt anyone.

He disclosed this on Thursday following his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State.

The National Assembly had earlier faulted the CBN’s unveiling of revised cash withdrawal limits with a maximum of N100,000 for individuals and N500,000 for companies, claiming that it might worsen the current economic situation.

But while reacting to the objections from the National Assembly and the public outcry over the cash withdrawal policy, Emefiele said;

“And we think Nigeria, as the biggest economy in Africa, needs to leapfrog into the cashless economy.

“We cannot continue to allow a situation where over 85 per cent of the cash that is in circulation is outside the bank.

“More and more countries that are embracing digitisation have gone cashless,” he said.

He added that there would be no rigidity on the policy and no reversal, appealing to Nigerians to embrace the new policy.

According to the Governor of the CBN, the new naira notes have already been disbursed to the various commercial banks and expects that the banks would begin distribution to the public.

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