Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele meet with Labour Union Leadership. Photo: Nigeria News
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has suspended it’s intended strike over the scarcity of cash across the country.
The indefinite nationwide strike was to begin on Wednesday, March 29.
Picketing of CBN offices across the country over the cash crunch was to be part of the activities.
The National Executive Council of the NLC at the close of its meeting this afternoon, gave the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), two weeks to normalise the money supply nationwide.
Ngige, NLC, CBN meet to avert protests
The Minister of Labour and Employment, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the NLC had met on Monday to find a common ground to avert the impending nationwide strike.
A statement by the Director, Press Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun, said the conciliatory meeting was summoned by Dr Chris Ngige to arrest the dispute between NLC and the CBN over the latter’s Naira Redesign Policy, which caused a cash crunch in the country.
The NLC had threatened to embark on the nationwide industrial action if the cash crunch, fuel scarcity and electricity tariff increase were not addressed.
Following this development, Dr Ngige invited the leadership of the Congress and the CBN management to a meeting to resolve their differences.
The ten-man delegation of the NLC was led by the President, Comrade Joe Ajaero and the General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, while the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele was accompanied by two Deputy Governors, Kingsley Obiora, Economic Policy, and Ade Shonubi, Organised Private Sector.
Dr Ngige refuted the allegation of the NLC that his Ministry did nothing about the matter.
He said that on receiving the letter from NLC, he had forwarded same to the CBN Governor before travelling out of the country for an International Labour Organisation (ILO) Governing Board meeting and directed the Permanent Secretary and Trade Union Services, as well as Industrial Relations Department, to follow up.
He insisted that his Ministry took the necessary step by sending the letter to the CBN Governor who received it and gave an assurance that action would be taken.
Responding, the CBN Governor, Mr Emefiele said when he received the letter from the Labour Ministry, he called the President of NLC to brief him on steps taken to alleviate the sufferings of the masses and equally booked appointments for more fruitful discussions with the NLC president.
He said large volumes of funds had been made available to the deposit money banks which had already been directed to open their branches on Saturdays and Sundays, with which they complied under strict supervision by the CBN.
in his own submission, NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, explained that the NLC had only received a reply to their second letter to the ministry, and had subsequently received invitation to a meeting.
He affirmed that NLC no longer envisaged any problem, since CBN had already begun sending cash to the banks and Nigerians were now accessing their money.
He also acknowledged that meetings have taking place in what he termed “the spirit of good dialogue”.
He said: “NLC could not have stopped CBN from taking good decisions and implementing them in the interest of the nation, If stakeholders were invited and briefed on the policy, when the people complain, NLC would explain everything to them.”
He promised that the NLC National Executive Committee (NEC) would meet on Tuesday.
At the meeting, he said, members from states and Local Government Areas will be expected to report on availability of money, after which a decision will be taken on the planned strike.
Similarly, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has attributed the problem of unemployment to population growth and economic uncertainties.
The Minister, Dr Chris Ngige made this known in Abuja, while briefing State House correspondents on the activities of the ministry.
He noted that in reality, chances for white-colour jobs had been shrinking; hence the implementation of policies of government to enable young people across the country to acquire skills that would ameliorate the situation.
Dr Ngige said the skill acquisition scheme was being executed under the National Action Plan on Employment Creation (NAPEC), which has listed 11 workplaces where trained youth could get jobs or establish their own enterprises.
He argued that despite the daunting challenges facing the country, the administration had demonstrated resilience and doggedness in stabilising the economy.
The Minister called on the private sector to complement efforts of the government in job-creation and financing works and services.
Reporting by Joseph Agi and Abdullah Bello; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino,Julian Osamoto, Muzha Kucha and Tony Okerafor