Cash crunch: Ngige, NLC, CBN meet to avert protests

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The Federal Government has taken steps to avert the impending nationwide strike scheduled by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to commence this Wednesday.

A statement by the Director, Press Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun, said the conciliatory meeting was summoned by Dr Ngige to arrest the dispute between NLC and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the latter’s Naira Redesign Policy, which caused a cash crunch in the country.

The NLC had threatened to embark on the nationwide industrial action if the cash crunch, fuel scarcity and electricity tariff increase were not addressed.

Following this development, Dr Ngige invited the leadership of the Congress and the CBN management to a meeting to resolve their differences.

The ten-man delegation of the NLC was led by the President, Comrade Joe Ajaero and the General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, while the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele was accompanied by two Deputy Governors, Kingsley Obiora, Economic Policy, and Ade Shonubi, Organised Private Sector.

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Dr Ngige refuted the allegation of the NLC that his Ministry did nothing about the matter.

He said that on receiving the letter from NLC, he had forwarded same to the CBN Governor before travelling out of the country for an International Labour Organisation (ILO) Governing Board meeting and directed the Permanent Secretary and Trade Union Services, as well as Industrial Relations Department, to follow up.

He insisted that his Ministry took the necessary step by sending the letter to the CBN Governor who received it and gave an assurance that action would be taken.

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Responding, the CBN Governor, Mr Emefiele said when he received the letter from the Labour Ministry, he called the President of NLC to brief him on steps taken to alleviate the sufferings of the masses and equally booked appointments for more fruitful discussions with the NLC president.

He said large volumes of funds had been made available to the deposit money banks which had already been directed to open their branches on Saturdays and Sundays, with which they complied under strict supervision by the CBN.

in his own submission, NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, explained that the NLC had only received a reply to their second letter to the ministry, and had subsequently received invitation to a meeting.

He affirmed that NLC no longer envisaged any problem, since CBN had already begun sending cash to the banks and Nigerians were now accessing their money.

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He also acknowledged that meetings have taking place in what he termed “the spirit of good dialogue”.

He said: “NLC could not have stopped CBN from taking good decisions and implementing them in the interest of the nation, If stakeholders were invited and briefed on the policy when the people complain, NLC would explain everything to them.”

He promised that the NLC National Executive Committee (NEC) would meet on Tuesday.

At the meeting, he said, members from states and Local Government Areas will be expected to report on availability of money, after which a decision will be taken on the planned strike.

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