In response to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new currency guideline, which is another means of devaluing the Naira, the Nigeria Labour Congress has challenged the Federal Government to ensure a full implementation of its promise of injecting N5billion palliative measure into the system to cushion the help the average Nigerian.
In a statement issued by the National Secretariat of the umbrella body of the workers’ union, it said that it would not rest on its oars and see government suffocate ordinary Nigerians with unfulfilled policies.
According to President Aliyu Ayuba Waba, polies like free and unfettered access to export process via inter-bank rates by non-oil exporters, possibility of the emergence of a single market as the primary and secondary markets, retention of the 41 banned items on the ban-list, primary dealers to operate the interbank market,
Long-dated forwards (6-12 months) to be issued by CBN for enhancement of liquidity, as well as the inability of apex bank in determining the cost of forex, which has to be determined by the market, translates a devaluation of the CBN; a proof of which was that within 24hours of this policy announcement, the Naira in the primary market exchanged to the Dollar at N245 (from N197), while in secondary market, the Naira exchanged to the Dollar at N 285 (from N364).
He also stated that, “While this movement raised a ray of hope of convergence of the markets, the incontrovertible truth remains that, for now, Nigerians will have to pay higher for goods and services and commodities without a commensurate rise in salaries, pensions or other earnings”.
He stated that unexpected liquidity pressure came upon the money market as the inter-bank rate surged to 60 per cent from 18 per cent. This pressure will be passed on to borrowers who will equally pass it on to consumers. This is another source of burden to Nigerians.
That the intervention of the CBN by way of $150 million was not sufficient to keep the Naira from depreciating.
“In view of the above, we call on the government to devise palliative measures to cushion the harsh effects brought on the average Nigerian by this new turbulence.
These measures should operate at various tiers of government or sectors of the economy and could be short term or long term.
“For instance, it has been reported that in the course of exiting from the clutches of the Paris Club in the recent past, accounts of state government were over-debited by the federal government.
“Similarly, the federal government is indebted to many state governments over the maintenance of federal roads in their territories. In line with the spirit of palliative intervention, we call on the government to make refunds (on verified claims) to state governments as this intervention will help, in no small way, in ensuring salaries and pensions are regularly paid and contractors also paid. This in our view, will stimulate the economy, one way or the other”.