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Nigerian banks sack 2,929 workers in the last quarter of 2019 – NBS

Nigerian banks sack 2,929 workers- A data released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics reveals that Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in Nigeria cut their number of staff by 2,929 in three months.

This indicates a 2.8 per cent decrease in staff strength within the three months as the total number of the banks’ workforce stood at 101,435 in Q3 compared with 104,364 recorded in Q2.

Year-on-year, the banks’ staff strength has reduced by 1,386, representing a 1.3 per cent decline when compared to the 102,821 staff recorded in the same period last year.

While the NBS did not indicate whether the staff strength was cut through retirement or   retrenchment and from which of the banks, recent reports suggest that the banks are under pressure to lay off more staff as the economic realities bite harder.

On Monday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had asked the management of First Bank Nigeria Plc., to suspend its plans to lay off over 1,000 of its employees.

The labour union said the mass retrenchment, initially billed for the end of November 2019, targets workers whose ages range between 35 and 55 years and who have put in an average of five years in the services of the bank.

According to NBS’ ‘Selected Banking Sector Data’, the reduction of staff in banks affected mainly senior staff and contract staff members of the financial institutions.

While the senior staff strength reduced by 272, within the three months from 17,943 in Q2 to 17,671 in Q3, the number of contract staff went down by 3,083, from 46,263 to 43,180.

However, the banks recorded an increase in the number of their executive staff and junior staff. The number of executive staff members in the banks increased from 178 in Q2 to 186 in Q3, while the junior staff figure rose from 39,980 to 40,398.

Meanwhile, the DMBs extended credit facilities valued at N16.2 trillion to the private sector in the period under review.

According to NBS, this represented a 7.2 per cent increase, compared with N15.1 trillion recorded in the previous quarter.

Oil & Gas led the sector with the highest credit allocation of N3.38 trillion, representing 20.84 per cent of total credit, followed by the manufacturing sector which got credit allocation of N2.56 trillion, representing 15.79 per cent of total credit.

Also, the government and agriculture sectors got credit allocations of N1.34 trillion, N673.19 billion, N60.59 billion and N6.20 billion representing 8.30 per cent, and 4.14 per cent respectively.

The report showed that the Trade/General Commerce sector got 1.09 trillion credit facilities within the period under review, while the Finance, Insurance, and Capital Market sector received N1.10 trillion.

The construction sector got N722.63 billion credits in the period as Power and Energy sector received N345.69 billion.

In terms of non-performing loans (NPLs), the NBS report showed that the banks were able to reduce their non-performing loans in the third quarter.

NBS disclosed that total non-performing loans of the banks as of September 2019 stood at N1.10 trillion, which showed a 23.6 per cent reduction, compared with N1.44 trillion recorded in Q2 2019.

Year-on-year, the banks have been able to cut their NPLs by 50.80 per cent as the loans stood at N2.24 trillion in Q3 2018.

The Oil and Gas sector accounted for the largest chunk of the total non-performing loans of the banks with N264.20 billion.

Other sectors’ shares of the NPLs as of September 2019 include General Commerce, N148.11 billion; Manufacturing, N100.64 billion; Construction, N81.60 billion; Transportation and Storage, N60.54 billion; ICT, 76.54 billion; Power and Energy, N46.88 billion.

Other unnamed sectors categorised as ‘General’ accounted for N150.18 billion of the total NPLs of the banks.

To address the problem of non-performing loans, the Committee of Banks’ Chief Executive Officers in Nigeria had, early this year, called for cooperation among all banks to identify and go tougher on chronic debt defaulters.

The committee said this would go beyond publishing names of such defaulters in national media (which is inevitable), but involved all banks speaking with one voice, sharing information about those entities, and refusing to do further business with them until they settled their obligations.

During a meeting in Lagos to review what they described as the “harassment and criminalisation of banks’ CEOs by law enforcement agencies,” the body noted that chronic bank debtors were now in the habit of enlisting law enforcement agencies, including police, judiciary and state securities to harass and criminalise banks’ CEO, which was unacceptable.

A communiqué issued after the meeting noted that the activities by the law enforcement agencies and the bank debt defaulters were capable of adversely affecting the banking system through the CEOs’ reputation among international banks as well as destroy the economy.​

In order to tackle what the body saw as an emerging threat to the banking business in Nigeria, the group resolved that all cases of defaults would be presented and passed through the Bankers’ Ethics Committee just as it intended to work with legal councils and come up with ways and strategies to manage related cases effectively without disrupting businesses and the system.

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