The Nigerian Senate today passed a resolution calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria *CBN) to suspend the excessive ATM maintenance charges deducted from customers’ accounts.
Punch reports that this resolution came as part of a motion raised by Senator Olugbenga Ashafa (Lagos East, APC), who called the charges “illicit.”
While passing the new resolution, the Senate also called on commercial banks operating in the country to configure their machines to dispense up to N40,000 per withdrawal, pending the outcome of the investigation by the Senate committees tasked with investigating the excessive and illicit bank charges.
“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,” said the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki while speaking on the motion raised.
Adding, “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.”
Other Senators who agreed that banks should review their charges include Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, who noted that “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.
While Senator Kabiru Gaya added, “The Senate must take a serious stand on this issue. Nigerians are really suffering. The banking system is not encouraging. I had an issue, took it to the bank and was refunded but how many Nigerians can do this? The issue needs to be addressed.”
Dr. Saraki noted his contributions in the banking sector and why he thinks it is time for changes to be made in the system. “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,” he said, adding, “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.”