By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—The Senate yesterday asked the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to direct commercial banks in the country to increase the maximum amount customers can withdraw from automated teller machines, ATMs, to N40,000 per transaction. The maximum is currently N20,000.
The upper legislative chamber, which also asked the apex bank to suspend ATM card maintenance fees, directed its Committees on Banking and Finance to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges and to also invite CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, to explain why the charges were allegedly skewed in favour of banks.
The resolution of the Senate was sequel to a motion sponsored by Gbenga Ashafa, the senator representing Lagos East.
While moving the motion, Ashafa said the apex bank was becoming insensitive” to the plight of Nigerians.
Contributing to the debate on the motion, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the numerous charges by the banks were unacceptable.
He said: “If we have institutions in Nigeria, they should ensure to do their jobs to protect Nigerians. Banks should have recognisable charges to let customers know what they are up against.”
On his part, The senator representing Lagos West, Adeola Olamilekan, said banks should stop cheating Nigerians of their hard-earned money.
“I have stopped using ATM for transactions,” he said.
In his contribution, Deputy Senate Minority leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, said: “The common man is also a victim. Banks declare profits and you wonder where these profits are coming from . It is from the sweat of the common man. Let us come up with a law that puts banks on their toes.”
On his part, the Deputy Senate Majority leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, said: 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.”
In his remarks, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the Senate must work to ensure that the Senate’s resolutions on the excessive bank charges were beyond the debate stage, so that whatever action the upper legislative chamber takes, would come into effect.