ASSBIFI Warns Banks Not To Retrench Workers Over TSA

The Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) on Wednesday warned commercial banks against laying off workers because of the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.

The President of ASSBIFI, Mr Sunday Salako, gave the warning in an interview in Lagos.

Salako argued that retrenching workers would worsen the Nigerian economy and engender untold hardships among workers, especially those employed in the banking sector.

He advised banks not to be in a hurry to cut jobs because “government can reverse the policy if it becomes harmful to the economy.

“Employers should not be in a hurry to cut jobs just because of a single policy. Before the policy, banks were making money and declaring fabulous balance sheets.

“The government can look at the policy and reverse it, if they believe it can harm the economy.

Salako pointed out, however, that the huge sum, totaling about N1.2 trillion, moved out of the commercial banks to the CBN because of the TSA could affect the economy.

According to him, anything that can affect the liquidity of banks will also affect their lending ability to power the economy.

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He said that the only agent that could kick-start the economy and make it robust was the banking sector and that if such money was taken from them and given to government’s banker, the CBN to keep; such a policy could harm commercial banks.

Salako said that ASSBIFI was yet to advise government on the TSA because the union believed the goal of the policy was to fight corruption and re-build the economy.

“We want to be fair to the government, maybe in the process of finding a way to tackle corruption, TSA is the measure recommended to them.

“But, with the policy and seeing the reactions of Nigerians, they can look at these reactions and try to harmonise the best way to move the country forward if the policy is not yielding the desired result,’’ Salako said.

On the issue of casualisation of workers, the ASSBIFI chief said that the union was against casualisation and exploitation of workers, especially in the banking sector.

He argued that casualisation was partly responsible for the persistent fraud in the banking sector that had been taking its toll on the economy.

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“The eradication of out-sourcing of employment or casualisation of casual workers will to a large extent, reduce sharp practices in banking operations.

“Casualisation has been blamed for robbery cases in the banks. Everybody who works in this sector must be employed as full staff.

This has been the position of ASSBIFI since 2007.

“Casualisation is alien to the sector because the financial institution is so delicate and sensitive that we cannot allow anybody who is not well-motivated to be saddled with the responsibility of working in the sector.

“You may do casualition in any other sector but not in the banking sector that thrives on trust and confidence.”

He argued that the banking sector should revert to the old system where people rose to the top through hard work and dedication, suggesting that career path in the sector should be well-defined with good working environment.

“In the past, people rise through the ranks from being a cleaner to a manager. This shows that loyalty and hard work pays, no matter your level, you will be given the opportunity to grow.’’