The continuous currency scarcity that affects Nigerians has prompted the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to demand that the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) take immediate action.
The NLC conveyed its dissatisfaction with the CBN and Federal Government for disregarding earlier alerts, implying that their passivity was deliberately inciting Nigerians against the framework and established power. The union declared that explanations would no longer be accepted, calling the paucity “disgraceful.”
At a news conference in Abuja, NLC President Mr. Joe Ajaero issued this warning, saying that Nigerians’ patience was being put to the test. He went on to say that it was intolerable for a government to subject its people to such suffering and then expect them to keep quiet forever.
Ajaero said, “The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is deeply concerned about the recent cash crunch that has gripped the Nigerian economy, particularly as the nation approaches the festive season. This economic challenge has far-reaching implications for the citizens of our great nation, and urgent steps must be taken to address this issue to prevent further hardship for the already suffering Nigerian populace.
“Fresh in the minds of every Nigerian is the excruciating conditions that we were all subjected to as a result of the last cash crunch earlier this year, orchestrated by the ill-conceived and ill-implemented currency redesign policy of the immediate past government.
“The sorrow that the botched exercise foisted on us is not what Nigerians wish to witness again in one year. This time, there is no discernible reason by the CBN neither any explanation from the Government for why Nigerians should be subjected to this level of suffering once again in 2023.”
Ajaero questioned the CBN’s assertion that people stockpiling cash at home in order to avoid discovery, saying that this would be a serious indictment of the government’s anti-corruption efforts.
Speaking on the scenario, he called it “shameful,” adding that “the CBN is saying that since this government took office, the level of graft has increased, resulting in the creation of hideouts for the slush funds.”
“The question then is; should the ordinary citizens be made to suffer the apparent incompetence of government in prosecuting the anti-corruption war or is it that there is actually no anti-corruption war going on?”
He drew attention to the fact that Nigerians are spending more time in banks in an attempt to obtain cash, which he feels damages public trust in the financial institution and may discourage people from using its services.
The NLC President added, “Though we have heard reasons like the increase in fake notes in circulation and the hoarding of the naira. These reasons are clearly unacceptable, as we cannot see anything that will make any Nigerian hoard the naira. In any case, it is not the ordinary Nigerian that hoards money in their houses.
“It is shameful that Nigerians would have to spend a lot of money to gain access to their hard-earned income. We are creating another avenue for economic rentiers such as the PoS operators and their collaborators in the banks to fleece Nigerians.
“Subjecting us again to spend our meagre salaries buying our money automatically devalues our income. PoS operators currently charge around N400 to access N10,000. This is about four per cent reduction in the value of the income of poor Nigerians who hardly make use of electronic platforms to perform their transactions.”
The president of the NLC emphasised that it would be incredibly cruel and equivalent to double jeopardy to force citizens—who are already burdened by government policies—to endure another time of cash scarcity.
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