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Banks Employ More Contract Staff To Save Cost

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By BUKOLA IDOWU, Lagos

Commercial banks in Nigeria in a bid to cut down costs are hiring more contract staff and have been pruning down on the number of top executives which is down by 8.1 per cent.

As at the end of the first quarter of 2019, the number of top executives dropped to 193  from 210 in the first quarter of 2018.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that banks have continued to increase the number of contract staff in their employ whilst the number of full staff continue to dwindle. Selected Banking Sector data by the NBS show that the number contract staff in the industry had grown in the first quarter of the year by 2.2 per cent to 46,235.

The number of senior staff figures had decline slightly to 18,018 in the first quarter of the year. The data includes the staff strength of the 30 deposit money banks operating with commercial banking, merchant banking, holding company and non-interest banking licence in the country.

Selected Banking Sector data released  by the NBS showed that compared to 21,837 contract staff in the employ of banks in the country as at June 2017, the figure rose to 43,955 as at the end of June 2018 before rising further to 46,235 as at March 2019.

Although the number of contract workers in the banks had declined slightly by 346  in the first quarter of 2018 to 32,013 from 32,359 which it was as at December 2017 it has been steadily rising since in then bringing its year on year growth to 44.43 per cent.

The number of executive staff and senior staff had been on the rise in the third quarter of 2018, the number of executive staff had been pruned in the last quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. The number of senior staff despite its reduction in the first three months of 2019 was however up by 6.36 per cent when compared to 16,941 figure that the banks had in the first quarter of 2018.

With a rising level of attempted fraud in the country, industry stakeholders believe the rising number of contract staff in the banking industry contribute largely to the level of insider fraud. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had warned banks against giving sensitive banking roles to contract staff, as they may not have a stake in the banks.

The volume of fraud reported in 2018 had been the highest in the last four years with an increase of 55.1 per cent from 25,043 in 2017 to 38,852 in 2018. Also its attempted and actual loss value increased by 124.3 and 27.5 per cents respectively.

Attempted fraud value had risen from N4.03 billion in 2017 to N9.04 billion in 2018 while actual fraud value had risen to N2.08 billion in 2018 from N1.63 in 2017. This brings the total fraud value since 2014 to N14.35 billion

The increase in total fraud according to the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) 2018 Annual Report titled “Emerging Fraud Threats: An Evaluation of the Industry Cybersecurity Posture” had been due to the substantial rise in mobile fraud.

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