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CBN, banks agree that no staff would be laid off over COVID-19

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and banks in the country have reached an agreement to suspend the proposed dismissal of bank employees in reaction to the coronavirus crisis.

The declaration was made in a statement released on Sunday by Isaac Okorafor, the central bank’s Director of Corporate Communications.

Some banks were contemplating downsizing their workforce as they made preparations to resume commercial operations Monday following the easing of lockdown by the Nigerian government in some parts of the country.

Herbert Wigwe, the Access Bank Group Managing Director, had few days ago in an Instagram video revealed the bank’s intention to undertake a mass retrenchment of certain categories of workers, pay cut for the rest of its workforce, and closure of many of its branches nationwide.

The CBN said it held talks with banks with a view to reviewing the economic implications the planned layoff would have on staff and their dependants in these hard times.

“A special meeting of the Bankers’ Committee was convened on May 2, 2020, to further review the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian banking industry. The Committee particularly deliberated on the issue of the operating costs of banks in view of the disruptions emanating from the global economic difficulties and decided as follows:

“In order to help minimize and mitigate the negative impact of the COVID19 pandemic on families and livelihoods, no bank in Nigeria shall retrench or lay-off any staff of any cadre (including full-time and part-time).

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“To give effect to the above measure, the express approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria shall be required in the event that it becomes absolutely necessary to lay-off any such staff.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria solicits the support of all in our collective effort to weather through the economic challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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