The Nigerian Senate has passed a resolution calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend ATM card maintenance charges, and directing its Committee on Banking and Finance to invite CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, to explain why the charges were skewed in favour of banks. The Upper Chamber also asked the apex bank to direct commercial banks operating in the country to increase the ATM withdrawal limit per transaction from ₦20,000 to ₦40,000.
The Senate further directed the Committee to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges in comparison with international best practices and report back to the Senate. It also called on the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to look into the various complaints of excess and unnecessary charges by Nigerian banks.
The resolution of the Senate was sequel to a motion sponsored by Olugbenga Ashafa, the senator, the senator representing Lagos East. While moving the motion, Ashafa said CBN was becoming insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
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.”
Other Senators who contributed to the debate, called on banks to review their charges. “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,” Senator Emmanuel Bwacha noted.
“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,” stated Senator Kabiru Gaya.