Naira scarcity: NLC, TUC suspend proposed actions against CBN


Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC)

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday announced suspension of their planned strike over scarcity of naira notes for two weeks.

The NLC had last Wednesday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to find solutions to the problem of naira scarcity in the country cause by its naira redesign and cashless policy.

NLC had threatened to order workers to picket CBN branches nationwide if the problem of cash scarcity persists at the end of the deadline.

It also ordered workers to stay at home if the cash crunch failed to ease off.

However, the apex bank had over the weekend flooded banks with old N500 and N1, 000 notes in obvious response to the threat by the NLC.

It also ordered commercial banks to operate on Saturday and Sunday to ensure that the cash circulates among the people.

To also avert the proposed action by Labour, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige met with officials of the CBN led by its Governor, Godwin Emefiele and Joe Ajaero, the president of NLC on Monday.

Ajaero told reporters in Abuja on Tuesday that reports from its state councils in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory indicate that workers are nw having access to cash and therefore, the planned stay – at – home directive will be suspended

But he noted that queues were beginning to resurface in some banks, with threats that NLC would resume the planned protest if naira notes become scarce again by the end of the two weeks.

He said said committees have been set up at the national and state levels to monitor situations in banks and report to NLC at the end of the two week extension.

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“Yes, there has been compliance but the NLC after its NEC meeting doubted the sustainability of the compliance. We have to monitor this compliance for the next two weeks to see whether it is sustainable because they have rushed to move money to commercial banks and some of them are getting empty again.

“It will be very naive for the congress to hurriedly call off the action. Whereas we are not shutting down tomorrow. We will want to loosen up for another two weeks with committees set up at the national level and all the states of the federation to coordinate compliance.

“There are some banks that didn’t open at the weekend. We advise the CBN to play the role of the regulator. They can sanction banks that are not complying. The first and second day the CBN said the money they were pushing per week they were pushing it daily. I wouldn’t know if they are still pushing it daily.

“They have constrained the banking sector. Nigerians have suffered so much. Even those who have withdrawn N10, 000 are afraid to bring it out in case the scarcity returns.

“The NLC and TUC have decided to allow tomorrow pass without any shutdown or picketing but to watch the next two weeks.

“After two weeks from today (Tuesday), the NEC of the two Labour centres will meet again and decide whether the CBN has actually complied and whether their compliance is sustainable to drive the economy.”

Also, Festus Osifo, the President of TUC assured that the two Labour centres would sustain the push for banks to make naira notes available to Nigerians for another two weeks.

He said: “We have agreed that we need to sustain this push for another two weeks. Reports from various states showed that there has been some level of compliance but some banks didn’t open at the weekend.

“We call on the CBN to sustain this action because the quantum of money Nigerians need now is even higher if this panic had not come in because an average Nigerian will withdraw money and be spending it little by little.

“The confidence in the system has been eroded and because that confidence has been eroded the CBN needs to do more by pumping more money into the economy.”

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