The House of Representatives yesterday called on commercial banks to convert their casual staff who are handling core operations to permanent staff without further delay.
The House also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to sanction any bank that fails to comply.
The call is contained in a motion on the, ‘Need for Commercial Banks to Stop Casualization of Staff’ moved by Amobi Akintola
Akintola, in his debate noted that prior to the emergence of new generation banks in Nigeria, staff of banks were usually full time workers and entitled to series of benefits from the banks they worked for, including promotions, health packages, productivity, life insurance policies, housing allowances, wardrobe allowances, feeding allowances etc. which made banking jobs enviable work for all and sundry in the country.
He observed that with the advent of new generation banks in the country, so many things changed in the banking industry but despite all the challenges being faced by the new generation banks, the financial sector still remains one of the most viable sectors of the Nigerian economy with each of the banks having a minimum of twenty-five billion naira only (N25, 000,000,000) as its capital base.
The lawmaker argued that all the banks in Nigeria declare jumbo profits, a situation that was repeated in 2018 when the banks made huge profit.
According to him, in 2017, Guaranty Trust Bank declared a profit before tax of N186 billion, followed by Zenith Bank Plc. which in the same financial year declared a profit before tax of N173 billion, while Access Bank Plc. came third with a profit of N80 billion.
“Also aware that commissions and charges that banks had raked in as at September 30, 2019 were over seven hundred billion naira (N700,000,000,000), without considering money generated from loans, advances and other portfolio investments of the banks, evidencing the lucrative nature of banking business.
“Concerned that despite the huge profits being made by commercial banks, they still casualize most of their core operational staff, as (90) percent of bank workers are casual staff, a development that is an act of exploitation of the unemployed youths.
“Also concerned that core operations of banks like tellering customer service, relationship management, marketing, business development, internal controls etc are being handled by contract staff who are not entitled to promotion, health care services, utility allowances, productivity etc, thus making them to be virtual slaves within the banking sector as six months ago, Eco Bank laid off over a thousand casual staff.
“Cognizant that the practice of casualization of staff is causing a rise in fraud rate perpetrated by staff and also psychological trauma among those set of staff to the extent that a contract staff committed suicide in 2010 when he was retrenched by WEMA Bank without any compensation and in another incidence few days ago, during a robbery attack in Ekiti State on Thursday November 21, 2019, the Police explained how a CCTV footage exposed a bank staff involved in the robbery operation.
“Convinced that if the casual staff handling core operations of banks are converted to permanent staff, better service would be derived by customers and the rate of fraud in the banking industry will reduce drastically”.
In adopting the motion, the House also mandated its Committee on Banking and Currency to interface with commercial banks on the need to stop casualization of their core operational staff.