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Cash Crunch: Ngige Summons Meeting Between NLC and CBN to Avert Nationwide Strike

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ABUJA, NIGERIA – On Monday, March 27, 2023, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, convened a closed-door meeting between the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in an effort to reach a compromise and potentially avert the NLC’s proposed nationwide strike, set to begin on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.

In addition to the strike threats, the NLC had also planned to mobilise its affiliate unions to picket all CBN branches across the country.

A statement from Olajide Oshundun, Director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, revealed that the NLC’s 10-member delegation was led by its president, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja. CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele was accompanied by two deputy governors, Kingsley Obiora (Economic Policy) and Ade Shonubi (Organised Private Sector).

During his opening remarks, Ngige addressed the NLC’s allegations that his ministry had not taken any action regarding the matter. He stated that he had forwarded the NLC’s letter to the CBN governor before traveling out of the country for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Governing Board meeting and instructed the Permanent Secretary and Trade Union Services and Industrial Relations Department to follow up on the matter.

Emefiele informed the meeting attendees that after receiving the letter from the Ministry of Labour, he contacted the NLC president to update him on the actions taken to alleviate the public’s suffering.

He also mentioned that CBN had made large amounts of funds available to deposit money banks, which were directed to open their branches on weekends and were strictly supervised by the CBN.

Ajaero acknowledged that the meeting had taken place in the spirit of good dialogue and that the situation had improved since the CBN began sending cash to banks, allowing Nigerians to access their money.

He urged the CBN to enhance its services and expressed regret over the information gap created by the naira redesign implementation.

The NLC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) is set to meet on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, to discuss the availability of money and decide on whether to proceed with the strike.

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