Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige has assured the threat of protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over naira scarcity has been arrested.
The NLC gave the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to cause the CBN and the commercial banks to end the cash scarcity, failure of which it warned of a nationwide protest and the picketing of the apex bank’s branches.
But appearing on the weekly Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the State House, Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Ngige said dialogues, coordinated by his ministry, took place making the CBN take steps to remedy the situation.
The Minister, who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, and other senior officials of the Ministry, said as at the moment, the issue to be discussed by NLC in its National Executive Council meeting would no longer be issues of protest, which he said had already been apprehended.
“Now they have all answered our calls because we are the Chief Conciliators. In my opening remark, I said I’ve noticed that there’s already a dialogue going on and there’s also implementation and the Nigerian Labour Congress agreed that there was some thawing at the surface of the icing that was there.
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“They said they will call up their National Executive Council meeting because the initial decision to give that ultimatum was given by this same Council. Members of the Council reside in the states and in the local governments so they will come up today, which is Tuesday, the 28th, to review the situation because much as it is, the important thing is that we have emphasized to them that we have apprehended this dispute.
“By Section 7:8 of Trade Dispute Act, once the Minister apprehends and starts conciliation on it, you maintain status quo ante bellum. So they have gone back now to review the situation. If they’re not satisfied with what they’re see, they will come back to me and I’ll invite the CBN again.
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“But for now, the issue of discussion is no longer strike, the issue of discussion is implementation and how far it’s gone and how far it affects Nigerian workers and the general population.
“So that is it, the final decision will be done today by NEC and they will then do a resolution, of course, inform me and CBN what their resolution is. But like I said, we have apprehended and we are now conciliating,” he assured.