The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday expressed disgust over the unending scarcity of cash across the country ahead of the festive period, advising the government to urgently address the crunch to avoid social unrest.
NLC in a statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, said: “This economic challenge has far-reaching implications for the citizens of our great nation, and urgent steps must be taken to address this issue to prevent further hardships on the already suffering Nigerian populace.
“If the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is saying that those with ill-gotten wealth are stashing cash in their houses to avoid detection, it becomes a heavy indictment on the government’s anti-corruption agenda. This is because what the CBN is saying is that since the assumption of office of this government, the level of graft has increased resulting in the creation of hideouts for the slush funds. “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 queue trying to source for cash not for monies that are not in their accounts but for their money. This undermines the 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. 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. POS operators currently charge around N400 to access N10, 000. This is about a four percent reduction in the value of the income of poor Nigerians who hardly make use of electronic platforms to perform their transactions.
“For citizens who are already impoverished by the same policies of government, foisting this on them again amounts to gross insensitivity and double jeopardy.
‘We are worried that by this action and others, the government may be inciting the people and mobilizing them to seek alternative routes for protecting themselves from these perverse policies. We believe that the elastic limit of the patience of Nigerians is being breached and no government inflicts this level of pain on its citizenry and expects them to keep quiet for a long time.
“Forcing Nigerians into revolt by continuously taking actions that deny them basic access to survival will not augur well for our nation. This cash crunch is indeed another test of the already-worn patience of Nigerian masses and workers.
“During this Yuletide, which is traditionally a time of joy, celebration, and familial gatherings, but the current cash shortage threatens to cast a shadow over the festivities for many Nigerians. The unavailability of cash has led to increased difficulties in meeting daily needs, exacerbating the economic challenges faced by ordinary citizens.
“The NLC recognises the importance of a vibrant economy, and we believe that it is in the interest of the nation to ensure that our citizens can enjoy the festive season without undue financial strain. We call on the government to take immediate and decisive action to alleviate the cash crunch and mitigate its impact on the people.”