The already troubled Nigeria’s economy will have its situation worsen as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed all workers to protest at all the offices of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationwide starting next week over the current cash crunch and petrol scarcity in the country.
The high inflation rate, unemployment, cash crunch and higher cost of energy are those things that have bedeviled the economy. These situations will undoubtedly be compounded if the NLC decided to allow its members which cut across all strata of the economy to carry out it planned protest on Wednesday.
NLC President, Joe Ajaero, who briefed journalists in Abuja, said the mobilisation for the exercise will commence on Friday while the total shutdown of economic activities across the nation will begin next Wednesday.
On March 13, 2023, the NLC issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government, calling for immediate action to cushion the effect of cash crunch and fuel scarcity crisis, or face industrial action by Nigerian workers.
Ajaero said the industrial action became the last resolve of the Congress, having urged the Federal Government through different channels to take into consideration the severe hardship workers and Nigerian citizens are experiencing because of the persistent cash scarcity.
It would be recalled that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, apologised to Nigerians for the rise in failed electronic banking transactions.
Emefiele, who spoke at the end of the two-day monetary policy committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, assured Nigerians that the issue will be resolved quickly.
According to him, the apex’s bank payments system management department made efforts to ensure that downtime on electronic banking channels are addressed following a terrible time experienced by Nigerians through their mobile apps, USSD platforms and debit cards since the implementation of the naira redesign policy and subsequent cash shortage.
“We must apologise. Yes, online channels fail. But no doubt it is as a result of the deluge of the volume of online transactions that hit the banking industry. But I think it is currently being resolved,” Emefiele said.
“On a daily basis, our payments system management department monitor the online payment platforms so as to make sure that when there is a downtime, they are quickly resolved so that transactions can go on smoothly.”
During the briefing, the CBN boss also spoke on the supply of money in the country, stating that the implementation of the naira redesign policy has resulted in a reduction in currency outside the banks.
He commended fintechs for facilitating smooth transactions for Nigerians by reducing the strain on traditional banks.
“Before the naira redesign, we said that there was about N3.23 trillion in circulation out of which only N500 billion was held in the banking system and N2.73 trillion was outside the banking system,” the CBN governor said.
“It was published yesterday that currency in circulation is close to N1 trillion. CBN will continue to pump the newly redesigned currency into the market.
“The truth is that at some point we will need to reassess to know whether the currency in circulation has attained an optimal level so as to put in place measures to ensure that we don’t go back to where we have before where people kept money outside the banking system for their own benefits,” he added.