ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, ABUJA
Senate on Wednesday, summoned the Labour and Employment Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, and Managing Directors of various commercial banks on the ongoing mass retrenchment in the nation’s financial sector.
The upper chamber’s decision followed a point of order raised by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, who brought the attention of the lawmakers to the retrenchment in the banking sector.
Ibrahim, armed with newspapers’ reports, specifically noted that the statement credited to the labour and productivity minister on the issue, allegedly contained some threats which could worsen the situation in the sector.
He explained that the threat allegedly issued by the Federal Government to withdraw the operational licences of any bank that failed to reverse the on-going mass sacking or halt the exercise forthwith, was unhealthy for the sector.
In his words, “They (federal government), gave directives to the banks not to retrench but banking been a very, very sensitive industry, any misguided statement or a statements can have a throwback on the industry. It can make or mar success of the banks. So it is a simple thing without any prejudice to the position of the minister.
“We want to as the chairman senate committee on banking, insurance and other financial institution for us to be able to invite the minister, the central bank and the banks.
“We also want to know what will happen if the threats are carried out bearing in mind that all the banks in Nigeria are either private companies, or quoted companies. So we want to know the basis for the directives and the basis for the threat.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the session, did not allow debate on the point of order but simple asked the senators whether or not they were in support of the only prayer sought by Ibrahim, to which they answered in the affirmative.
Ngige had threatened to withdraw the operating license of any bank and telecommunication company that failed to yield to its earlier directive to stop mass sack of workers in their employ.
The Minister disclosed this while addressing world leaders at the ongoing 105th session of the International Labour Congress organised by the International Labour Congress in Geneva, Switzerland.
The statement of the Minister may be recent as a result of sack of 175 employees of Skye Bank Plc.
The bank confirmed the development in a statement through which it explained that the affected workers failed the year 2015 appraisal exercise.