Cash crunch: NLC warns FG of mass protest, again, banks cut withdrawals

Aliya Moses
4 Min Read

The Nigeria Labour Congress, on Tuesday, expressed concerns over the lingering cash scarcity in the country.

Five days to the Christmas Day celebration, the congress said in a statement by its National President, Joe Ajaero, that the situation had serious implications for citizens, insisting that urgent steps must be taken to address it.

Bank customers have been groaning over their inability to access cash to meet daily needs, despite assurances from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The banks have continued to ration cash over-the-counter, while many ATMS are not dispensing cash.

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However, NLC in the statement warned the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria that a mass public protest was imminent if nothing was done to address the naira shortage.

Ajaero said, “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 that was orchestrated by the ill-conceived and ill-implemented currency redesign policy of the immediate past. The sorrow that 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 Central Bank of Nigeria, neither any explanation from the government on why Nigerians should be subjected to this level of suffering once again in 2023; 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.”

The NLC leader said if the CBN was saying that those with ill-gotten wealth were stashing cash in their houses to avoid detection, it became a heavy indictment on the government’s anti-corruption agenda.

This, he added, “Is because what the CBN is saying is that since the assumption of office of this government, that the level of graft has increased resulting in the creation of hideouts for the slush funds.

In the statement, the NLC further explained, “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?

Nigerians are spending more time in the banks, trying to source for cash not for monies that are not in their accounts, but for their own money. This is undermining confidence of the public in the banks, and may discourage the citizenry from participating actively in banking. It is shameful that Nigerians would have to spend a lot of money to gain access to their hard-earned income.

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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.”

The NLC noted that the PoS operators were charging round N400 to access N10,000, which was about four per cent reduction in the value of the income of poor Nigerians who hardly made use of electronic platforms to perform their transactions.

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