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Friday, February 23, 2024

NLC sounds alarm over lingering cash scarcity, warns of imminent public protest

Five Days to Christmas, NLC Urges Urgent Action to Address Naira Shortage, Threatens Mass Protest

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has raised concerns over the prolonged cash scarcity in the country, just five days ahead of Christmas Day. In a statement released by its National President, Joe Ajaero, the Congress emphasized the serious implications of the situation for citizens and issued a warning of a potential mass public protest if urgent steps were not taken to address the naira shortage.

Despite assurances from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), bank customers continue to face challenges accessing cash for their daily needs. Over-the-counter cash rationing by banks and non-dispensing ATMs has exacerbated the situation, prompting the NLC to express dissatisfaction.

Ajaero stated, “Fresh in the minds of every Nigerian is the excruciating conditions that we were subjugated to as a result of the last cash crunch earlier this year. The sorrow that the botched exercise foisted on us is not what Nigerians wish to witness again in one year.”

The NLC leader questioned the lack of discernible reasons or explanations from the government or the CBN for the renewed cash scarcity, dismissing reasons like an increase in fake notes and naira hoarding as unacceptable. He emphasized that the ordinary Nigerian was not responsible for hoarding money in their homes.

Expressing concern about the impact on citizens, Ajaero stated, “Nigerians are spending more time in the banks, trying to source cash not for monies that are not in their accounts but for their own money. This undermines the confidence of the public in the banks and may discourage the citizenry from participating actively in banking.”

The NLC leader accused the government and the CBN of failing to address the issue adequately, signaling potential consequences for the anti-corruption agenda. He questioned the implication that those with ill-gotten wealth were stashing cash to avoid detection, terming it a heavy indictment on the government’s anti-corruption efforts.

The NLC highlighted the impact on citizens, particularly the impoverished, who now face additional financial strain to access their hard-earned income. The union criticized the high charges imposed by point-of-sale (PoS) operators, noting that this placed an additional burden on poor Nigerians who relied less on electronic platforms for transactions.

Expressing concern over the potential for public revolt, the NLC urged the government to take immediate and decisive action to alleviate the cash crunch and ensure citizens can enjoy the festive season without financial strain. The union called for collaboration with financial institutions to improve banking services, including transparent communication regarding steps taken to address the situation and reassure citizens about the stability of the financial system.

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