NLC, TUC extend ultimatum to CBN to end cash crunch

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday (yesterday) extended the ultimatum issued to CBN to make naira available in commercial banks by two weeks.

The two organisations had earlier threatened to picket all branches of the CBN beginning from 29 March if government and the CBN did not end the nationwide cash crunch.

NLC president, Mr. Joe Ajaero told a news conference in Abuja that the decision to extend the ultimatum was reached after consultations with affiliate members of both unions and their National Executive Councils.

He said reports from state branches of the two organisations indicated that there had been partial compliance by the CBN with a Supreme Court judgment to make cash available in banks.

“We agreed that we have to monitor this compliance for the next two weeks to establish whether it is sustainable.

“CBN rushed to move money to commercial banks, but some of the banks are getting empty again. Queues are returning to some of them.

“It will be very naive of the NLC to hurriedly call off the action. We would want to loosen up for another two weeks, however.

“The NLC and TUC have decided to allow March 29 to pass without any picketing, but to watch for the next two weeks.

“After two weeks from today, the NEC of the two organisations will meet to decide whether the CBN has fully complied and whether its compliance is sustainable to drive the economy,’’ he said.

The NLC president said committees had also been set up at the national and state levels of the two organisations to monitor the level of compliance by the banks.

He observed also that some banks did not comply with the CBN directive to operate at the weekend.

“We equally wish to advise the CBN to play its regulatory role because it can sanction banks that are not compliant as Nigerians have suffered so much,’’ Ajaero said.

In his contribution, TUC president, Mr. Festus Osifo corroborated Ajaero’s submission that the two organisations had agreed to sustain the push in the next two weeks to ease the hardships of Nigerians.

“With reports that came from the states, there had been some level of compliance, but some banks refused to comply or refused to open and they did not open at the weekend.

“We call on the CBN to encourage them to sustain the availability of cash as the confidence in the system has been eroded.

“The CBN needs to do much more. It needs to supply much more money into the economy,” Osifo stressed.

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