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» » BANKS PLEDGE TO "HALT" ONGOING SACK OF WORKERS
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Nigerian banks may have agreed to halt the retrenchment of their workforce following threats by the Federal Government top sanction them. It was learnt yesterday that they agreed to minimise the planned sack.

The Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank, Mrs. Bola Adesola made the disclosure at the end of the Bankers Committee Meeting in Abuja yesterday.

“Banks in the country are looking at ways to ensure that we minimise exits from our institutions. There will always be exits if there is fraud and so forth, people will exit institutions”, Mrs. Adesola told reporters after the meeting.

She said banks pulling back on retrenching workers is not new stressing that “it is something we have discussed in the past where the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor prevailed on the banks to minimise any exits from the institutions.”

Her words: “Banks understand the implication of people not being in employment. So, we noted the market sentiments and going forward it will be difficult but there will be reasons why people will exit not just in the banking industry but in telecoms and other industries. It is something that we will manage.”

Mrs. Adesola also disclosed the development of a National Collateral Registry by the apex bank as part of efforts to deepen financial inclusion in the system, adding that the CBN has put the framework and technology in place.

“The CBN”, she said,  “has begun to engage stakeholders so we should expect the rollout of the collateral registry to be made available to banks to register moveable assets that they lend against.”

She said that a policy statement that will make the banks’ credit process more robust in lending to customers against moveable assets would soon be out.

According to her, the collateral registry will enable customers have access to credit facility with their phone sets and any other assets and still retain the services of those assets once they are properly registered.

She said the introduction of the registry will eliminate the barriers for those hitherto constrained by lack of collateral from taking loans.

“Once your car is registered, you can take a loan and then be using it to pay back your loan. But if you default in paying back, that car may be recovered at the appropriate time”, she said.

In his remarks, the outgoing Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc., Mr Philip Oduoza,  warned currency speculators that they would be deceived when the much awaited flexible exchange rate is rolled out.

He said: “The CBN has received a lot of input from various stakeholders and these inputs are being distilled with a view to get a robust flexible exchange rate model.

“In a very short while, the framework is going to be ready and once this happens, it is going to be made public and we will start running with it immediately.

“The Bankers’ Committee believes that it is important that we get it right right so we don’t have to go back to the drawing board.

“We need to exercise a little bit of patience but we tell you that we are coming up with a framework that will be able to address a lot of the issues that surround foreign exchange in Nigeria.

“Anybody engaging in currency speculation would be deceived at the end of the day because once these frameworks are released you will find out that a lot of the issues that have been affecting foreign exchange in Nigeria would be dealt with, people need to be very careful and we should exercise a bit of patience so that once we roll it out it is going to be one that will suite our environment and peculiarities.”

In her opening remarks, CBN’s Banking Supervision Director,  Mrs. Tokunbo Martins said: “Commercial and micro finance banks have been given targets for savings and credits and in order to meet that target there have been agreements to move away from traditional access points to more electronic points.”

The CBN official said an agreement has been reached with the Money Deposit Banks (MDBs) and the Micro Finance Banks (MDBs) on a linkage model.

Mrs. Martins said the agreement would enable the MDBs to lend to the MFBs, who would in turn, grant facilities to customers at the grassroots.

“That should, to a very large extent, improve financial inclusion in the country.” she said

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