OrderPaperToday– The House of Representatives has urged commercial banks to convert all casual workers to permanent staff without delay.

This is just as the Green Chamber directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sanction any bank that breaches the resolution.

This was sequel to the consideration of a motion moved by Mr Amobi Akintola during Wednesday’s plenary.

In his motion, he noted that the banks, despite generating billions as profits yearly, still recruit many of their staff as casual workers.

Akintola explained 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 for all and sundry in the country.

He noted 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.” 

In 2017, Guaranty Trust Bank declared a profit before tax of one hundred and eighty-six billion naira only (N186,000,000,000), followed by Zenith Bank Plc which in the same financial year, declared a profit before tax of one hundred and seventy-three billion naira only (N173,000,000,000) while Access Bank Plc came third with a profit of eighty billion naira (N80,000,000,000) and by the end of that year, all the banks in Nigeria had declared jumbo profits, a situation that was repeated in 2018,” he briefed.

 Going further, he informed the House 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.”

Saying the part time status of the staff encourages fraud and exploitative, he wondered why despite the huge profits being made by commercial banks, they still casualise most of their core operational staff, with (90) percent of bank workers are casual staff. 

Akintola informed his colleagues 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, healthcare 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. 

The practice of casualisation 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 incident 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.”

The lower chamber, therefore, mandated the Committee on Banking and Currency to interface with commercial banks on the need to stop casualisation of their core operational staff and also mandated the Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

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