By Babajide Komolafe
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied directing banks to disengage their staff. In a statement issued on Monday and signed by the Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs Department, the apex bank said
â€œThe Central Bank of Nigeria has noted, with dismay, several untrue reports in the media alleging that the CBN ordered the mass sack of Deposit Money Banksâ€™ staff and rationalization of their branches.
â€œWe wish to reiterate categorically that the CBN has never directed commercial banks to sack staff or rationalize branches as reported.Â Banks are private enterprises and the decision to engage or disengage staff is best left to the management and boards of the institution.Â These decisions are taken on the basis of business imperatives.
â€œThe CBN expects all banks to follow due process in honouring all terms of appointment of their employees and any collective agreements signed with Workersâ€™ Unions.Â However, the CBN does not consider it appropriate to encourage loss-making banks to further erode depositorsâ€™ funds and capital through inefficiencies in cost management. The public and all stakeholders should therefore disregard the allegation in its entirety.â€
The denial is coming on the heels of a meeting between the CBN, banksâ€™ chief executives and the Minister for Labour and Productivity, Minister, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode SAN.
The meeting ordered by Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan is aimed at forestalling plans by organised labour to picket banks over recent mass retrenchment in some banks.
Between October and December 2009, close to 10,000 banksâ€™ workers lost their jobs in Oceanic Bank, Intercontinental Bank, IBTC Chartered Bank, Zenith Bank, UBA, First Bank, Union Bank, Diamond Bank and FCMB.