It is no longer news that most Nigerians are experiencing severe economic hardship due to the recent FX policy and subsidy removal. The economic challenges arising from the opening up of the foreign exchange market and the removal of petrol subsidies have resulted in soaring inflation and a significant drop in the value of the Naira against the Dollar. This has led to skyrocketing fuel prices, affecting the costs of other essential commodities and services, I ncluding food items, transportation, education, and healthcare.
This increased economic burden falls on the citizens. It has significantly impacted the lives of Nigerians, leading to calls for the government to provide palliatives and policies to cushion the biting effects of the deteriorating economy. As citizens continue to wait on the government to roll out relief packages for the public, the private sector has swung into action, taking up the gauntlet of easing the financial burdens of its workforce. Many organisations like Union Bank of Nigeria have taken swift action to ease the financial burdens its employees face, representing a substantial portion of the Nigerian population. The bank has implemented a comprehensive compensation strategy, which includes a notable upward salary review for all its staff. This salary increase applies to full-time and contract staff and support staff, such as cleaners, drivers, and security guards.
The salary review, which is the second time this year amounts to over 50%, demonstrates Union Bank’s commitment to providing an enabling environment for its customers and dedicated employees. In addition to the compensation review, the bank will launch a bus pick-up service for all staff to alleviate the high cost of transportation, showing its dedication to improving the overall well-being of its workforce.
Union Bank’s actions align with its core values, which prioritise customer and employee welfare. The bank has a track record of impactful humanitarian interventions, such as the Union Bank Employee Volunteer Scheme and Union Cares program, which have provided relief to impoverished communities nationwide. Additionally, the bank’s Save & Win Palli Promo, launched during the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020, has been widely popular and has rewarded over 1,000 customers with over 100 million naira. The promo is set to return for its third season later this year.
While private sector organisations like Union Bank are taking proactive steps to support their employees during these trying times, there is a need for the government at all levels (federal, state, and local) to step up and address the multidimensional poverty and crippling economic hardship faced by the people.
The commendable initiatives by Union Bank, including the compensation review and transportation relief program, should serve as a motivating example for the government to take urgent action. Implementing short-term relief measures and launching palliative programs will help address hunger, job security, transportation, and minimum wage issues. These measures offer immediate assistance to the people and pave the way for long-term economic recovery.
As the months ahead remain critical, Union Bank’s proactive approach sets a precedent for responsible corporate citizenship. The bank’s dedication to supporting its employees and impacted communities exemplifies how collaborative efforts can lead to a stronger and more resilient nation.