Reacting to the recent sacking of about 4,000 workers from banks in Nigera, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Lamido Sanusi, said the banks have to cut costs to stay afloat and the CBN is not in a position to dictate to a bank how many workers it should have.
Mr. Sanusi said, "The banks thought they were making money without knowing that they had high cost. They now discovered that they were not really making as much money as they used to because of high operating cost, so they have to reduce the cost rate.
â€śI am aware that some of those banks dealt with their unions and got their signatures, while others are still engaging the unions. But I donâ€™t think it is in the place of the regulators to dictate to a bank how many workers it should have.â€ť
â€śA bank like Oceanic Bank spends about N4bn a month as salaries to its workers. Intercontinental Bank also pays about N4bn a month as salaries. There are no performing loans to earn money. The banks are paying huge interest on inter-bank lines and huge interest on depositorsâ€™ funds; they also have high cost of running their branches, so they have to survive.
â€śThe monies we gave these banks were not given to them because the banks will pay back. They are given to make sure that when you go to your bank, they wonâ€™t run out of cash, we gave them money so that depositors do not lose their money. We did not give them money to retain workers.
â€śOceanic Bank has 19,000 workers, but substantial part of these workers was recruited for branches that have not been opened. This figure was actually huge because the company that recruited workers for Oceanic Bank was actually owned by the former Group Managing Director. So, on what basis should they retain those staff?â€ť