Home Economy CBN, Bankers’ Committee suspend lay-offs in banks

CBN, Bankers’ Committee suspend lay-offs in banks

by Business News Report

Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, and the Bankers’ committee have sealed a deal that there will be no job loss in the banking industry in the country as a result of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. They have also committed to the fact that if lay off of staff of any category becomes inevitable such banks must seek the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The CBN in a statement issued in Abuja signed by its Director Corporate communication Mr. Isaac Okorafor said “a special meeting of the Bankers’ Committee was convened on May 2, 2020, to further review the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian banking industry. The Committee particularly deliberated on the issue of the operating costs of banks in view of the disruptions emanating from the global economic difficulties and decided as follows: 

“In order to help minimise and mitigate the negative impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic on families and livelihoods, no bank in Nigeria shall retrench or lay-off any staff of any cadre (including full-time and part-time). To give effect to the above measure, the express approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria shall be required in the event that it becomes absolutely necessary to lay-off any such staff. The Central Bank of Nigeria solicits the support of all in our collective effort to weather through the economic challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic”. 

It will be recalled that Access Bank Plc had last week told its employee that they are to take a pay cut as the coronavirus bites hard on economic activity in the country. Access which presently has a workforce of about 5,870 permanent staff after it took over Diamond Bank in April last year had assured staff that it would not reduce its workforce. “The pay cut will ensure that there are no job losses”. Several top companies in Nigeria and globally are either sacking, furloughing staff or slashing salaries to keep costs down as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts global trade and commerce. Herbert Wigwe, the bank’s CEO in a virtual talk with staff said the adjustments are needed at this time and that he would take a pay cut of about 40 per cent. The pay cut is expected to begin with May salaries if economic conditions remain the same.

Herbert Wigwe, had held a meeting, tagged Employee Town Hall Meeting, with some staff of the bank via Microsoft’s Teams (video) and informed them of some strategic moves that the financial institution would take this month to ensure it weathered the ravaging effects of the present COVID-19 crisis ravaging the world economy. According to him, the decision would affect the bank’s 5,870 permanent staff starting with him, as his salary would be cut by 40%. Sources within the bank said that he had initially held a session with the staff, engaging them on what decisions needed to be made regarding salaries, especially considering the effects of Covid-19 on the economy. He gave staff the options of either downsizing or accepting cut salaries. Majority of the staff present at the online video meeting on Microsoft Teams chose the lesser evil of cutting salaries. After this, he had another meeting with staff via the same Teams where he finally announced that there will be salary cuts.

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