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Naira Scarcity: NECA Urges NLC to Shelve Planned Strike

CBN officials have engaged labour over the picketing threat.

The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) on Thursday advised the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to shelve its planned strike against the prevailing naira scarcity in order to avoid dragging the economy into a deeper crisis.

The Director General of NECA, Mr. Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, gave this warning on Thursday, in a press statement titled, “Nigeria Labour Congress Nationwide Planned Strike: NECA Calls for Caution, Urges Social Dialogue.”

However, in a bid to stave off an impending protest by the NLC against the central bank, some officials of the apex bank, including its deputy governors, on Thursday met with the leadership of the congress in Abuja.

Speaking further, Oyerinde cautioned that embarking on the planned strike at this time would be counter-productive.
Oyerinde said: “While we had expressed our deep concern as regards the mismanaged and dreadful implementation of the naira redesign policy, and in fact, some other policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria, it is our strong believe that the planned strike by the NLC could further drag the economy into a deeper hole, leading to rapid business closures, job losses and other socio-economic challenges.

“While we affirm emphatically our displeasure with government’s loud silence and seeming inactivity in resolving the self-inflicted quagmire, the planned strike, at this time, could be counter-productive.

“We, hereby, urge the maximum use of the instrumentality of social dialogue in resolving all issues associated with industrial and social-economic disputes.
“Actions by government and indeed social partners that could compromise the fragile economic state of the nation should be avoided. We urge the CBN and indeed, the federal government to immediately address the genuine concern of Nigerians in view of the ongoing socio-economic difficulties.”

He added that it was without a doubt that the cash crunch had affected businesses, individuals and households terribly while economic experts and analysts had stated that the loss in economic terms could be over N20 trillion as a result of loss of productive hours in bank halls and petrol stations, shut-down of businesses due to low patronage, inability of employees to transit to work, challenges faced by households in meeting basic needs and the general distortion in general supply chain.

Meanwhile, officials of the CBN yesterday met with the leadership of the NLC in Abuja.
THISDAY learnt from sources at the Labour House that the meeting held at the NLC’s headquarters saw the CBN delegation explaining the government’s financial policy, especially the naira redesign that resulted in cash crunch.

The source said the CBN delegation led by its Deputy Governors – Mr. Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi and Dr. Kingsley Obiora – pleaded for the understanding of organised labour on the lingering cash squeeze.

“The CBN team pleaded with the NLC not to embark on the protest, assuring that it is doing everything to restore normalcy in the currency supply chain,” he said.
The NLC had on Wednesday directed all workers to picket all the offices of the central bank nationwide starting from next week, over current cash crunch in the country.

NLC President, Joe Ajaero, who gave the directive while addressing journalists, had said the directive became imperative following the expiration of a one-week ultimatum given to the apex bank to make cash available to Nigerians.

He said workers decided to take their destiny in their hands, adding that the mobilisation had already commenced.

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Dike Onwuamaeze in Lagos

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