• en

CBN Accuses Banks of Colluding With PoS Operators To Disrupt Naira Circulation

It ordered the PoS operators to remove excess charges.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday warned banks and Point-of-Sale (POS) operators against acts undermining availability and flow of the naira across the country.

The apex bank in a statement issued by its acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mrs. Sidi-Ali Hakama, alluded to an alleged cases of collusion between banks and PoS operators which had reportedly affected the availability of cash as well as disruption of the seamless circulation of the naira.

Also, on Thursday, the House of Representatives urged the CBN to improve on its monitoring and supervision of commercial banks in the country due to the worsening incidence of naira scarcity.

Furthermore, the central bank in its statement, also said it was investigating reported cases capable of defeating the smooth running of the economy.

Hakama, therefore, warned banks and PoS operators to desist from such activities, saying relevant sanctions shall be meted out to those found wanting.

She said, “The CBN frowns at such inappropriate actions by certain individuals and is investigating the reported cases capable of undermining the smooth running of the economy.

“Meanwhile, members of the public are encouraged to use alternative payment channels as well as report any case of unauthorised activities, such as capping and hoarding, by banks or PoS agents to the CBN branch in their locations…”

The bank further provided customers with a digital link – https://forms.office.com/r/frZJ0f2hFQ for complaints and inquiries on the subject.

Only recently, the apex bank, as part of efforts to stem the scarcity of naira, announced the suspension of processing fees of two per cent and three per cent previously imposed on all cash deposits above N500,000 for individuals and N3 million for corporates respectively, with immediate effect.

The central bank had said the suspension shall remain in effect until April 30, 2024.

The bank had disclosed this in a circular dated December 11, 2023 and signed by CBN acting Director, Banking Supervision, Dr. Adetona Adedeji, which was addressed to all banks, Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) and non-bank financial institutions under the apex bank’s regulatory supervision.

Sources at the apex bank also confided in THISDAY that the scarcity of cash in banks especially during the yuletide season had been a major worry to the apex banking regulator.

Some Nigerians see no reason to keep their money in banks any longer given the current difficulty in withdrawing such funds when needed.

The sources alluded to the fact that the Christmas period was a time when people prefer to keep physical cash for spending purposes – part of the reasons given for the current scarcity.

In effect, PoS operators have arbitrarily increased their service charges according to findings by THISDAY.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has urged the CBN to improve on its monitoring and supervision of commercial banks in the country due to the worsening incidence of naira scarcity.

The lawmakers also urged PoS operators to immediately remove excessive charges they collect from customers across the country.

Furthermore, the House mandated its Committees on Banking Regulations and Digital and Electronic Banking to invite the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the CBN to explain why commercial banks were not paying customers over the counter and ATM machines.

These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion on the ‘Need to Curb the Sale of Naira Notes by the Point of Sale (POS) Operators in Nigeria,’ moved by Hon. Mohammed Dan Abba Shehu at plenary on Thursday.

Shehu, noted that POS machines were invented and produced to address hiccups in financial transactions by commercial banks in Nigeria, adding that the financial transaction machines have significantly transformed the financial sector in the country by assisting the public in resolving challenges in banking.

He stated that, “PoS machines have been adopted in advanced countries like the United States of America, the United Kingdom and South Africa to facilitate financial transformation without manipulation.

“Sections 1 and 2 of the CBN Act 2007, empowers the CBN to regulate commercial banks and advise the government on financial issues to achieve good governance.”

The lawmaker however said, “PoS operators are now selling naira notes at exorbitant prices of N1,000 for N300, while N10,000 goes for N4,000, thus, causing concern among citizens who are currently experiencing economic hardship.

“Cognisant of the need for the government to utilise its relevant authorities under the CBN Act 2007, to supervise commercial banks and advise on financial matters, including regulating PoS operators, this will validate public confidence and address hardships faced by citizens in Nigeria’s financial transactions.”

Adedayo Akinwale and Juliet Akoje in Abuja

Follow us on: