Coronavirus: Nigeria’s Access Bank announces salary cuts to curb job loss

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Corona Chronicles: 4 May – 7 May

By Ruth Olurounbi

Posted on Tuesday, 5 May 2020 17:10
An Access bank signage is displayed on the roof of the bank's building in Abuja
An Access bank signage is displayed on the roof of the bank's building along Herbert Macualay way in Abuja, Nigeria, August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Following the assurances to shareholders that the bank is considering new ways to efficiently “withstand the effects of coronavirus pandemic on businesses,” Access Bank announced on Monday that it is restructuring salaries “across the institution as a result of the impact of COVID-19.”

“We are today, as an institution faced with the current economic crisis resulting from the pandemic, we have taken certain measures to control costs across the institution at all levels, to achieve greater efficiency and continue to run a profitable business post-COVID-19,” Herbert Wigwe, the bank’s Group Managing Director and CEO, announced in a statement on Monday.

Nigeria attempts to curb job losses

The latest development follows an agreement between the banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend staff layoffs until further notice to help “minimise and mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families and livelihoods,” according to the CBN.

Whenever it “becomes absolutely” necessary to lay-off any staff, approval must first be secured from the CBN, the regulator said in a statement.

Access Bank restructures salaries

Access Bank said that it, like many other businesses, is confronted with the “difficult decision” to make necessary adjustments in terms of cost structure to ensure that it comes out of the pandemic stronger.

“As an employer of over 30,000 employees, our employees are our greatest assets. We understand how difficult these times are and we determined to ensure that our staff is still in employment,” Wigwe said in the statement.

READ MORE: Nigeria’s Access Bank acquires Kenya’s Transnational Bank — and its murky past

He continued: “to keep to this commitment, we have made a decision at the management level to restructure salaries. This will start with me, who will have a salary restructure of 40%, while other employees will have their salaries slightly reduced as well. It has become essential to take this decision in the interim, considering economic realities and hope to reverse it as soon as economic activities become stable.”

Wigwe, last Thursday, informed shareholders at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) that the bank is addressing high operating expenses issues and is taking drastic measures to ensure that expenses are reduced significantly.

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