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Nigerian Banks Begin Massive Sack Over Treasury Single Account

Commercial banks in Nigeria have commenced laying off some of their
staff, following the federal government directive to ministries and
agencies for a Treasury Single Account.

Nigerian commercial banks, it was learnt, can no longer afford to keep
their staff, as ministries and
agencies of government have commenced
withdrawal of their deposits in commercial banks, in compliance with
federal government directive.

A source who is a top management staff of one of the first generation
banks told leadership Weekend on condition of anonymity that only two
days ago, his bank laid off one thousand staff nationwide adding that
the mostly affected in the downsizing exercise are desk officers.

The source told our correspondent that, closure of government accounts
with commercial banks has left the banks with no other option than to
reduce its work force.

It would be recalled that the banking sector is the highest employer of Labour in Nigeria.

The source expressed concerns, that TSA policy, although designed to
ensure accountability and transparency, it is equally going to ground a
lot of the commercial banks.

He said, “As I speak with you now, about one thousand of our staff are
already on their way out, because we can no longer accommodate them, but
what we have done is to lay off more of the desk officers”.

Asked why the attention is on desk officers, the source said, “If you
lay off those who go out to look for deposits you will worsen the
situation, so we have to look at the survival of the bank first, the
consequence of allowing desk officers to stay and sacking those who
bring deposits will be higher, so we took the safer option of letting
desk officers go”.

“The truth of the matter is that some of these deposits, especially
fixed deposits help the banks a lot, now, there is directive that
government funds be withdrawn, on one hand it will ensure
accountability, but on the other hand the banks will also have to reduce
their staff strength or be ready to recapitalise.

Another source told our correspondent that about 1,500 staff of a new
generation bank were also laid off yesterday for the same reasons.

The source stated further that most of the staff laid off were those on
temporary appointments. He said, “The problem is that, if you lay off
permanent staff at once, you also have to pay them all their
entitlements otherwise they will take you to court. Yes, majority of the
people we truly do not need are unfortunately the permanent staff, but
because of the confusion and litigation that will follow, we decided to
relief those with temporary appointments. It is a painful decision, but
we have to do it in other to save the banks.

“We have prepared their disengagement letters and most of them will be
communicated next week. I tell you, not only here, all the banks will
follow this line. That is the situation”.

Confirming the sack, a staff of one of the highly rated new generation
banks with branches in each state capital and reputable for excellent
services, who simply gave his name as Chukwuma said, “I got my letter of
disengagement on Thursday, I was devastated, but at the same time I
knew it will get to this point, because most of the commercial banks in
Nigeria have very fat accounts of government agencies and ministries
that runs into billions of Naira.

“Some of these funds are not withdrawn for six months or even more and
banks trade with them and make profits. So once you shut that angle of
business certainly the banks will bleed, so if, other people did not
expect sacks, then they must be day dreaming”.

President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that every ministry or agency of
government maintains Treasury Single Account for the purpose of
transparency and accountability.

States like Kaduna have already started reaping the benefits of the TSA,
as state’s funds stashed in different commercial banks have being
recovered.

Source: Leadership

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