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Cardoso introduces decongestion action plan in CBN,  returns departments to Lagos

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By Abiodun OBA

 

The new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, is making efforts to return parts of the Apex bank’s departments from Abuja headquarters to Lagos.

According to a source, the CBN Governor cited the large staff strength at the head office in Abuja as justification.

The source pointed out that an internal memo which was leaked to the public showed the Bank Supervision Department was mainly affected by the new policy.

The memo read in part, “This is to notify all staff members at the CBN Head Office that we have initiated a decongestion action plan designed to optimise the operational environment of the bank.

“This initiative aims to ensure compliance with building safety standards and enhance the efficient utilisation of our office.”

Although some staff of the bank have reportedly resisted the transfer and claimed that it was motivated by tribal sentiment, the source claimed that it was for ‘staff safety and increased productivity’.

Part of the memo, “This is to notify all staff members at the CBN Head Office that we have initiated a decongestion action plan designed to optimize the operational environment of the Bank.

“This initiative aims to ensure compliance with building safety standards and enhance the efficient utilization of our office space.

“This action is necessitated by several factors, including the need to align the Bank’s structure with its functions and objectives, redistribute skills to ensure a more even geographical spread of talent, and comply with building regulations, as indicated by repeated warnings from the Facility Manager, and the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Decongestion of the CBN Head Office.

“The action plan focuses on optimizing the utilization of other Bank’s premises. With this plan, 1,533 staff will be moved to other CBN facilities within Abuja, Lagos and understaffed branches.

“Our current occupancy level of 4,233 significantly exceeds the optimal capacity of 2,700 designed for the Head Office building. This overcrowding poses several critical challenges.”

The source added, “The CBN is saying instead of 200 workers to go work in other states and return to the head office, they should relocate fully to that state for safety and to increase productivity.”

As learnt, the move is viewed by staff with consternation, as it has been described as a demonstration of hidden agenda, arguing that returning parts of the staff to Lagos cannot be justified.

Their argument was that CBN has many facilities in Abuja.

For instance, the former Head office building in Garki is largely underutilised and that if indeed the Central Business District Headquarters was congested, the Governor should have sent some departments to the “Old CBN”, as it is called.

In addition, CBN has buildings in the Maitama District that are also equally underutilised, which could be put to better use, the staff argued.

The source said staff who were angry about the transfer argued that banking supervision responsibility of the CBN was not only carried out in Lagos, as the new CBN boss wanted them to believe.

Besides, Banking Supervision, Other Financial Institutions, Consumer Protection, Payment System Management and Monetary Policy could also be affected.

It was learnt that the governor upon assumption of office immediately wanted to sack all the directors of CBN.

However, that move was halted when he was told that the directors were not political appointees who could be sacked at will, as was the case of the Ag. Governor and all his Deputies.

Sources said that since the new CBN Governor could not sack the directors as wanted, he decided to transfer virtually all of them from the headquarters.

Some were sent to the Financial Systems Stability Secretariat and the CBN training Institute in the Maitama District of Abuja.

The departments pencilled down for relocation by the CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso, are Banking Supervision, Other Financial Institutions Supervision, Consumer Protection, Payment System Management and Financial Policy Regulations departments.

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