The Senate has passed a resolution calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend the ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers.
This was after a motion on “illicit and excessive charges by Nigerian banks in customers accounts” was raised by Senator Gbenga Ashafa during the plenary session on Wednesday.
They also called on commercial banks to configure their machines to dispense up to N40,000 per withdrawal.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu seconded the motion, saying: “The ATM charge is not the only charge we get from the bank, there are VAT charges and so on; this is unacceptable. We have the Customer Protection Agency in Nigeria, but they are not living up to expectations.”
Speaking on the Motion, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki said: “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 Senate made this known via a tweet @SPNigeria.
The Senate directed the committees on banking insurance and other financial institutions and finance to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges in comparison with international best practices and report back to the Senate.
he Senate President stated 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,”
It also mandated the committees on banking, insurance and other financial institutions and finance to invite the CBN Governor to appear before the body 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.
Senator Emmanuel Bwacha said,The common man is also a victim,”
“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.
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.”
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,”