The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has, again, threatened to carry out nationwide protest in two weeks if the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) fails to find permanent solution to cash scarcity.
NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and his counterpart in the TUC, Festus Osifo, gave the warning at a joint press briefing which held at Labour House, at the end of their National Executive Council meeting, on Tuesday.
The congress had last week said it would begin an indefinite strike and picket all branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria across the country.
But the apex bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, in an attempt to avert the impending crisis, called on the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, to prevail on the labour leaders.
However, Ajaero said after receiving briefings from its state councils in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, the NLC decided to defer the picketing directive issued to workers last week.
He said reports from its state councils showed that the cash scarcity was easing off.
The labour leader told reporters that the NLC would resume the planned protest if naira notes become unavailable to Nigerians by the end of the two weeks.
According to him, committees had been set up at both the national and state levels to monitor situations in banks and report to it at the end of the two-week ultimatum, Daily Trust reports.
He said, “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 on 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 Even those who have withdrawn N10,000 are afraid to bring it out in case the scarcity returns.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.”
On his part, the President of TUC assured that Labour would continue to protect the interest of workers and Nigerians.
Osifo said 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.”