Nigerian Senate Takes Action Against Illicit and Excessive Bank Charges

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The Senate has commenced an investigation into the excessive and illicit bank charges on customers’ accounts. And a resolution has also been passed by the Nigerian Senate, beckoning on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the excessive ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers. This resolution came as part of a motion on the illicit and excessive bank charges, sponsored by Senator Olugbenga Ashafa (Lagos East, APC..

According to reports from the Medium, commercial banks operating in the country have been called upon to configure their machines to dispense up to N40,000 per withdrawal pending the outcome of the investigation by the Senate committees tasked with investigating the excessive and illicit bank charges.

“This is a motion that affects the lives of every Nigerian — irrespective of what part of the country you come from or whatever political affiliation you might have. This is why we are here: to always defend and protect the interests of the Nigerian people.” The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said, while speaking on the Motion.

The Senate President declared  that the Senate must work to ensure that the Senate’s resolutions on the excessive bank charges goes beyond the debate stage, so that whatever action the Upper Legislative Chamber takes, would come into effect.

“This Senate has done this many times before; when there was a hike in the mobile telecommunication data charges, we intervened and put an end to that. When there were discrepancies and increases in electricity prices, we also took action. We have done this on a number of similar cases. Therefore, on this, I want us to take effective resolutions,” Saraki said.

And contributing to the debate, other Senators, called on banks to review their charges.

“The common man is also a victim,” said Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, “Banks declare profits and you wonder where these profits are coming from — it’s from the sweat of the common man. Let us come up with a law that puts banks on their toes.”

“It won’t be out of place to institute a committee that will call on the CBN to tell us what these charges are about. The Senate by fiat should abolish charges if they can’t be verified,” said Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah.

“The Senate must take a serious stand on this issue. Nigerians are really suffering. The banking system is not encouraging. I had an issue, took it to the bank and was refunded but how many Nigerians can do this? The issue needs to be addressed,” stated Senator Kabiru Gaya.

“For me, this is a major step that we are taking. This is because I introduced the first ATM machine that came into Nigeria over 25-years ago,” the Senate President, Dr. Saraki told his colleagues, “Now, after 25-years, we should have grown out of these excessive charges and moved on. So, I believe that this something that we must address to create an environment that protects all Nigerians, because these kind of charges in this economy affects everyone.”

Furthermore, Committees on Banking, Insurance & other Financial Institutions and Finance have been directed by the senate to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges in comparison with international best practices and report back to the Senate. The above-mentioned committees have also been told to invite the Governor of the CBN to appear before it to explain why the official charges as approved by the CBN are tilted in favour of the banking institutions as against the ordinary customers of the banks.

Lastly, the Consumer Protection Council have been assigned to look into the numerous complaints of excessive and unnecessary charges by Nigerian Banks.

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