The Central Bank of Nigeria has been been urged to suspend the the Automated Teller Machine, ATM, maintenance and withdrawal charges by banks.
The Senate made the call 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.
Bukola Saraki, who spoke on the motion 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.”
He added 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.
The Senate however, 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.
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.
The lawmakers urged CBN to suspend the ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers accounts, just as they called on the CBN to instruct the commercial banks to configure their machines to extend to N40,000 per withdrawal, pending the outcome of the investigation by the committees.
The Consumer Protection Council was called upon 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.