Barring any last-minute change in plans, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, will today (Thursday) meet with Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers of all the Deposit Money Banks in the country.
The meeting, which is scheduled to hold at the headquarters of the apex bank in Abuja, according to findings, may consider the massive sacking of workers in the banking sector.
A total of about 1,400 workers had so far been sacked between last week and Wednesday by Deposit Money Banks in a move to prune down the number of workforce in the sector.
The PUNCH had last week reported that Ecobank Nigeria sacked over 1,040 of its employees, while Diamond Bank Plc and Skye Bank also disengaged 200 and 175 members of their workforce respectively.
FBN Holdings, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, had recently said it would prune the number of its employees by 1,000.
Following the gale of job losses in the banking sector, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, had on Friday directed the banks to stop further sacking of workers.
The minister said that all the sacking done in the past four months should be put on hold pending the outcome of a proposed stakeholders’ summit for employers and employees of the banking, insurance and other financial institutions scheduled for the first week of July.
“Following the high spate of petitions and complaints from stakeholders in the banking, insurance and financial institutions, I hereby direct the suspension of the ongoing retrenchment in the sector pending the outcome of the conciliatory meetings in the industry,” Ngige had said.
But sources told our correspondent that the issue of mass sacking might feature prominently at Thursday’s meeting because of the fact that it had attracted the attention of the Federal Government.
A top official of one of the banks confided in our correspondent that while the decision to sack workers was a tough one, there was no way the DMBs could sustain the huge cost of operations following the drop in government patronage.
The source said, “You will recall that the banking sector has been in the spotlight due to the huge loss of jobs by bankers. The reason for this action is obvious when you consider the fact that the banks are no longer making huge profits the way they used to.
“A lot of stakeholders in the sector are concerned about this development and I am sure that this issue will be discussed at the Bankers’ Committee meeting scheduled to hold on Thursday at the CBN headquarters.”
Apart from the issue of mass sacking, it was gathered that the new foreign exchange policy would also be discussed at the meeting.
The apex bank is on the verge of releasing a new guideline on the management of foreign exchange in the country.
Emefiele had said the policy, when unveiled, would enable the CBN to retain a small window for critical transactions.
He gave some of such transactions as importation of vital machinery for production as well as essential basic raw materials critical for manufacturing, which by their nature could not be sourced locally.
A flexible exchange rate system is a monetary system that allows the exchange rate to be determined by supply and demand.
The implication of this is that with a high demand for the dollar in Nigeria, there is every likelihood that the naira will experience further decline.