Like they have the power: FG orders banks to stop sacking workers


The Federal Government of Nigeria seems to be in need of a lesson on the meaning of “markets”. Bad, unclear, conflicting policies of the administration in the last one year, coupled with a downturn in the revenue coming into the federation has led to a situation where banks are looking for avenues to cut cost. In the past week, several banks have fired thousands of staff. It’s just the way the markets work.

The FG does not understand this. On Friday, it directed banks, insurance and financial institutions to suspend on-going retrenchment in the sector, as though they were government appendages.

In a statement, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the directive follows the “spate of petitions and complaints from stakeholders in the banking, insurance and financial institutions.”

Ngige said he was directing the suspension of the on-going retrenchment “pending the outcome of the conciliatory meetings in the industry. This is as a result of the apprehension by my office of the various disputes in the sector in accordance and in compliance with the provisions of the labour laws of Nigeria.”

The statement said that the decision was further predicated on the fact that the continued retrenchment and redundancy by the sector were jeopardising the outcome of the reconciliatory and mediatory processes undertaken by the ministry.

“In this wise, all the retrenchments and redundancies done in the last four months and all proposed ones should be put on hold.

“Pending the outcome of the proposed stakeholders’ summit for the banking, insurance and financial institutions’ employers and employees, slated for the first week of July 2,’’ the statement read in part.


However, Mr. Ngige advised all parties in the interest of industrial peace and harmony to maintain the status-quo ante-belum.

Several banks have fired thousands of workers, amid an economic crisis. This week, Ecobank has reportedly sacked about thousand staff.

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