The Senate on Wednesday resolved to summon the Labour and Employment Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige; the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, and the heads of the various commercial banks, on the current mass sacking in the nation’s financial sector.
The decision was taken by the red chamber at plenary following a point of order raised by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Ibrahim, who brought the attention of his colleagues 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.
He said, “They (Federal Government), gave directives to the banks not to retrench but banking being a very, very sensitive industry, any misguided statement or a statement can have a throwback on the industry. It can make or mar the 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 CBN Chief and the banks’ chiefs to know if they are talking at all about retrenchment.
“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 of the directives and the basis of the threat.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the session, did not allow debate on the point of order but simply asked the senators whether or not they were in support of the only prayer sought by Ibrahim, to which they answered in the affirmative.
No date had been fixed for the invitation and the Senate was not also categorical on whether they would appear in plenary or before a committee of the red chamber.
The Senate on Wednesday, May 25, expressed serious concern over the poor state of the nation’s economy and summoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Emefiele, to brief it on monetary and fiscal policies being adopted to salvage the worsening economic situation.
The resolution followed a motion by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Bassey Akpan, after reviewing the report of the nation’s economic situation recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The upper chamber had not up till date inform Nigerians when exactly the top government officials would appear before it.