The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured bank workers, afraid of losing their jobs, that their jobs are no longer under threat.
Director, Banking Supervision at CBN, Tokunbo Martins, made this known on Wednesday, at the Bankers’ Committee meeting held in Lagos, saying the issue was discussed with the banks and it resolved to halt retrenchment in the industry.
“One of the things we discussed was about the impending retrenchment in the banking industry. So, we understand that many bank staff are experiencing fears about possible retrenchment in the industry,” she said.
“We discussed it among the banks and the banks are now committed to not retrenching their staff going forward. So, whatever rumours are flying around about that mass retrenchment happening or not happening, that is not true.
Reacting to a report published by the Arqaam Capital, insisting that some Nigerian banks are in crisis, Martins also assured the banking public that Nigeria’s financial sector is safe and sound.
“Yes there was discussion around the stability of the banking sector. But even without the discussion, as Director Banking Supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria, I can tell you that the report is false.
“The banks are adequately capitalized, so the report is not true. That does not mean that the banking sector is not feeling the economic headwinds. The headwinds are also in every other jurisdictions. It is not strange. So, non-performing loans at 11.7 per cent is not what we should focus on.
“But the fact is do the banks have the capacity to absorb any further loses that would arise? The answer is that they do. They have very strong capital buffers. Another thing that is important is does the banks have the capacity to generate huge income to absorb those loses.
“The underlying assets of the banks are still there, and they are good. So, I think you should totally dispel or ignore that type of story. It should be expected to have non-performing loans (NPLs).
“It is not the reason why any jurisdiction should be demonized. There are other jurisdictions that have NPLs as high as 15 per cent, 35 per cent and so on.
“In CBN’s move to manage demand for Forex, there was a rule that was put in place that people are not allowed to withdraw more than $50,000 annually on their naira debit cards. For a while, the policy has been abused by bank customers, and the CBN had not taken any step to that effect.
“We have decided to take the steps now to enforce the rule. So, we want members of the public to remember that that rule is in place. All your accounts are linked to a particular BVN. Now, that BVN only allows you to withdraw only $50,000 per annum. If people continue to breach that rule, they will lose access to forex market.”
Story by David Oputah