The Nigerian Senate has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers in a resolution passed during plenary on Wednesday, October 17, 2018.
The upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly also directed commercial banks operating in the country to configure their machines to dispense up to N40,000 per withdrawal pending the outcome of investigations by the Senate committees tasked with probing the excessive and illicit bank charges.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said the motion affects every Nigerian and should be addressed by the relevant authorities. He said the Senate must ensure that effective resolutions are reached to ease the financial burden of excessive bank charges on everyday Nigerians.
He 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.
“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.”
Speaking further on ATM withdrawal limits, Saraki said it’s time for the banking sector to get rid of unnecessary charges that affect customers.
“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. 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,” he said.
The motion on the illicit and excessive bank charges on customers’ accounts was sponsored by Senator Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East, APC).
While moving the motion titled “Motion condemning Illicit and Excessive charges by Nigerian Banks on Customers Account with particular focus on Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Maintenance and withdrawal charges”, the lawmaker expressed concern that there have been several complaints from Nigerians generally and on social media concerning illicit and excessive charges being deducted by commercial banks in Nigeria.