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CBN tells Nigerians to take action over discretionary charges by commercial banks




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CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele has urged Nigerians to take necessary action when commercial banks impose discretionary charges on their bank deposits. 

Emefiele who spoke during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Tuesday advised Nigerians to consult ‘Guide to bank charge’ a document produced by the apex bank to guide bank customers on discretionary charges.

THE ICIR reports that The “Guide to Charges by Banks, Other Financial and Non-Bank Financial Institutions” (the Guide) provides a basis for the application of charges on various products and services offered by financial Institutions in Nigeria to their customers. This document applies to all financial institutions licensed and/or regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The document obtained from the apex bank’s website noted that charges prescribed in the Guide were arrived at after extensive consultations with stakeholders.

The intendment of the Guide is to enhance flexibility, transparency, and competition in the Nigerian banking industry, the document said.

The apex bank governor who also spoke on some legacy projects by the bank at the meeting said they would be completed before the expiration of the current administration tenure.

“On taking off of the Infraco company, transaction advisers and asset managers have been appointed. We are concluding with the appointment of the CEO of Infraco any moment from now. Shareholders are also reviewing the three major projects handed over to asset managers. Before the middle of next year, we would take off.”

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Meanwhile, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the CBN has retained the benchmark interest rate at 11.5 per cent.

The MPC voted unanimously to retain the Monetary Policy rate at 11.5 per cent during its meeting on Tuesday.

The MPC also held same sentiment for the Asymmetric Corridor which remained +100/-700 basis points, and The Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) left at 27.5 per cent.

The members of the monetary authority also voted to keep the Liquidity Ratio at 30.5 per cent, as the apex bank governor stated that the decision to maintain the perimeter was made to support economic growth recovery.

The committee noted that with sustained intervention from the CBN, economic activity would normalise in the short to medium term, “leading to improved output growth and lowering of inflationary pressure.”

The outcome of the MPC meeting showed insecurity remained a major concern for the members as they highlighted its impact on investors’ confidence, foreign investment inflow and the general economy.

Emefiele, who spoke on behalf of the MPC committee, said insecurity, “remains a key downside” and urged security agencies to improve their effort in order to boost confidence in “movement of people, goods and services.”

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The MPC expressed optimism that food inflation – which was 18.34 per cent in October 2021, against 17.38 per cent recorded in October 2020 – would drop if insecurity in food-producing areas [in the north where bandits and herdsmen are attacking motorists and farmers is tackled.

Meanwhile, some analysts have hailed the apex banks’ encouragement to Nigerians to take actions against discretionary deductions.

Ene Obi, a deputy director in Action Aid and a social commentator told THE ICIR that most Nigerians consumers don’t like speaking out when they are not satisfied with the service they receive from their banks.

“It is a welcome development and now the apex bank has thrown the ball in the court of Nigerians I urge them to take the necessary action as contained in the Guide.”

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