Business

Nigerian govt reacts as CBN slashes ATM, transfer charges

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, has hailed the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to reduce the cost of electronic cash transactions, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and card maintenance fees.

Pantami’s reaction was contained in a statement on Wednesday by Uwa Suleiman, his spokesperson.

“This directive from the regulator of the financial sector will in no small measure contribute to the actualization of a Digital Economy, as lower service charges will encourage a higher patronage of electronic services, especially in the banking and financial services sector.

“The honourable Minister, encourages all decision making institutions in the country, to enact policies that will give support and key into the Digital Economy policy of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.

Meanwhile, the federal government has condemned the N50 stamp duty imposed on consumers for transactions.

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) said it had engaged the CBN and both agreed that the charge was counterproductive and burdensome.

Babatunde Irukera, FCCPC Chief Executive Officer, in a statement on Tuesday said businesses already capture the operating cost price of their goods and services.

He stated that to impose an additional fee on consumers that is exclusive of price and discriminates based on the selected mode of payment essentially amounts to a penalty for the adopted mode of payment.

“The problems associated with carrying excessive cash in order to avoid a penalty are myriad and multifaceted”, Irukera noted.

“Accordingly, the Commission welcomes the CBN’s definitive statement on December 23rd, 2019, clarifying its September 17, 2019 directive by Circular Ref. PSM/Dir/CON/02/015 that the directive did not intend to pass such fees to consumers.

“This makes it inappropriate and illegal for businesses to pass a stamp duty cost of doing their business to consumers.”

The agency ordered business owners to stop the N50 charge and threatened consequences should they default.

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