…as Senate takes action on illicit, excessive bank charges
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has yesterday disclosed how he introduced the use of Automated Teller Machine, otherwise known as ATM in Nigeria.
He stated this while giving his remarks on a motion, “Illicit and excessive charges by Nigerian banks on customers account with particular focus on Automated Teller Machine (ATM) maintenance and withdrawal charges,” sponsored by Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East Senatorial District.
Saraki said, he introduced ATM 25 years ago when he was the Chairman of Society Générale Bank of Nigeria (SGBN) before other banks began its use.
He expressed grave concern over exorbitant charges by banks when customers use their ATM, saying that when he introduced the services in the now defunct SGBN, it was not so.
“I quite agree with the motion sponsored by Gbenga Ashafa over the exploitation of ATM users, after all, the use of ATM is not a new thing to banks. I first introduced ATM about 25 years ago.”
The Senate on Wednesday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) card maintenance charges being deducted from customers.
This resolution followed a motion on the illicit and excessive bank charges on customers’ accounts, sponsored by Senator Olugbenga Ashafa.
Meanwhile, the Senate has 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.
Speaking on the motion, 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 our 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 tariffs 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 contributed to the debate, called on banks to review their charges.
The Senate directed its Committees on Banking, Insurance & 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.
The Senate also directed the aforementioned committees to invited the Governor of the CBN to appear before it 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 Senate also enjoined the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to look into the various complaints of excessive and unnecessary charges by banks in the country.