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Banks sack thousands of workers: ‘The economy is tough, we are the worst hit’

THE typhoon of sack blowing across Nigeria at the moment has left no sector untouched.  And if the tale hovering is anything to go by, the banking industry is now worse hit by the ugly scenario on account of the economic recession the country is going through at the moment.

The unpalatable situation, ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered, has affected many bank staffers while more heads may still roll before the end of March 2016, if the situation persists.  From what we learnt, most of the banks resorted to sacking some of their workers in the guise of restructuring and repositioning with a view to meeting the dictates of the economy right now.

Some of the affected workers, we gathered, are yet to be paid their severance benefits due to the poor financial status of some of these top banks at the moment.

In ENCOMIUM Weekly’s bid to confirm the unpalatable circumstance bedeviling the banking industry, we had a chat with Corporate and Communications Departments of some of the financial institutions recently, and some of them agreed that sacking staffers at the moment is unavoidable due to the prevailing economic situation of the country which is quite worrisome.

One of them that volunteered to speak with us under the condition of anonymity said, “Yes, there is serious problem in the banking sector now.  It’s true we’re laying off workers, but that’s not meant to be public.  It’s an in-house thing for now.  And those affected will be compensated in due course.

“Everybody understands the situation of things in Nigeria now, especially concerning our economy.  And to be honest, banks are worse hit.  Then, in our bank, we found out that there’s no alternative other than asking some of our workers, especially those whose services are no longer needed to go, but they will surely be compensated soon.  The management can’t just ask them to go like that.

“Now, many banks, including ours depend largely on contract staff.  And if there is need to employ permanent ones at all, the bank can only recruit those with Ordinary National Diploma (OND) because of the cost implication.  And they will be permanently placed in the Marketing Department. So, that’s the situation of things now.”

Another bank’s spokesperson who also pleaded anonymity confirmed that things are no longer at ease in his establishment presently; hence the decision to embark on retrenchment.

“What’s happening in the banking sector now is quite disturbing.  The factor on ground doesn’t support having a very large work force in the system again.  And it should be understandable if any bank says it’s sacking its staffers.

“What I also want the public to understand is that inasmuch as restructuring is necessary in any establishment, some have to be affected.

“So, I will not say in our own case, that we’re sacking.  We’re only right-sizing.  And which is expected in order to remain in business. Presently, there is no money in circulation, and that’s really affecting the banking sector.  So, there is need for us to fire some workers.  Even, it has not stopped, more heads will still roll if the situation doesn’t improve before the end of first quarter of 2016.”

Corroborating the earlier submissions, another bank media person said, “I don’t think that should be a surprise to anybody.  We’re all witnessing how things are going now.  The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has no direction yet as regards repositioning Nigerian economy.  And when a situation like this arises, banks are usually badly affected.

“We all said we needed change, and perhaps, God has answered our prayer.  So, let’s see how event unfolds as we approach 2016.

“Then, why is it only the banking sector that people are talking about?  The exercise cuts across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.  Even the Federal Government is sacking.  Recently, President Buhari pruned 36 ministries to 25 just because Nigeria is broke. So, what do you think will end that?  Definitely, some people will lose their jobs. Even, some have already lost theirs.

“Then, all the state governors, except a few, are unable to pay their workers’ salaries.  Some can’t afford to pay N18,000 minimum wage.  And those who agreed to pay had said they will reduce their workers.  So, are they also not sacking?

“Also, take a look at the telecoms industry, they also fire their workers daily.  So, why are the people so particular about banks sacking their workers?”

In his submission, another head, Corporate Communications Department of a top bank who also confided in us stated that his bank management is yet to embark on reducing its workforce.  He added that it may be inevitable depending on the situation of things in 2016.

“We’re yet to embark on retrenchment of workers in our establishment. But to be honest, the country is tough now, and that’s really affecting the sector, our bank can’t be said to be exempted.  What happens is that most depositors are only withdrawing now, they’re not adding to the volume of the money in their accounts because there’s not much money in circulation as it used to.  I think we should all pray that God helps Buhari to accomplish his economic mission for the country so that normalcy can return in the system.”


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