© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Senate urges CBN to suspend ATM charges, and others
THE Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend the automated teller machine (ATM) maintenance charges of N65 being deducted from customers account and to prevail on commercial banks to configure their machines to dispense N40,000 per withdrawal.
The resolutions were made at the Senate plenary session on Wednesday after a motion on the illicit and excessive bank charges on customers’ accounts, was introduced by Olugbenga Ashafa, Senator representing the Lagos East.
The motion titled “Illicit and excessive charges by Nigerian banks in customers accounts with particular focus on Automated Teller Machine (ATM) maintenance and withdrawal charges” was discussed broadly at the upper legislative chambers.
Deputy Speaker Ike Ekweremadu who seconded the motion indicated that the ATM charge is not the only charge people get from the commercial banks, but also some VAT charges which he said were unacceptable. He added that Customer Protection Agency in Nigeria was not living up to expectations.
While addressing the motion, Senate President Bukola Saraki said that the motion affects the lives of Nigerians. “After 25-years, we should have grown out of these excessive charges and moved on. So, I believe this is something that we must address to create an environment that protects all Nigerians,” Saraki said.
“We need to look at ways to ensure that our resolutions go beyond just the debates,” he said.
Emmanuel Bwacha, a member of the Senate, in his contribution, said that Senate should come up with a law that would put Nigerian banks on their toes. Similarly, Adeola Solomon said the banks should stop ripping Nigerians off their hard earned money.
Ibrahim Gobir, also a member, however, said Nigerians do not understand that the cost of technology is high. He said the banks have to invest in equipmentnt to manage the ATMs.
“If there is a problem with the ATM, you have to pay for someone to fix it. We cannot force it on the banks to reduce costs,” said Gobir.
To curb the illicit charges of the commercial banks on customers, the Senate has thereby urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend the ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers account.
The Senate has resolved on the below:
- Direct the Committees on Banking Insurance and other Financial Institutions to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges in comparison with international best practices and report back to the Senate.
- Mandate the Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions and Finance to invite the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria to appear before the Committee in order to explain why the official charges as approved by the CBN are skewed in favour of the banking institutions as against the ordinary customers of the banks;
- Urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend the ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers account as well as instructing the commercial banks to configure their machines to extend to N40,000 per withdrawal pending the outcome of the investigation by the committees.
- Urge the Consumer Protection Council to be up and doing in taking up the plight of ordinary Nigerians by looking into the various complaints of excess and unnecessary charges by Nigerian Banks.