Abuja – Barring any last-minute changes to a proposed law at the National Assembly, commercial banks in Nigeria would henceforth face stiffer penalties running into millions of naira as fine over arbitrary deductions from depositors’ money as charges.
The House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency on Tuesday took this position at a two-day public hearing on the proposed amendments to the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2017.
Lawmakers at the hearing with stakeholders in the banking industry brainstormed on the way forward for the nation’s financial sector.
The lawmakers frowned at certain bank practices aimed at ripping off customers of their hard-earned money in the guise of bank charges for sundry services.
Declaring the hearing open, the House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, said bank customers had not stopped compiling spurious charges on their accounts.
Dogara, who was represented by the House Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyema, said the process of lawmaking was a dynamic one, and as such must continue to evolve to meet with societal changes.
The committee chairman, Jones Onyeriri (PDP, Imo), said increase in penalties to bank operators would streamline the operations of such banks to conform to international best practices.
According to him, the proposed amendments to the BOFIA Act 2017 was initiated by three lawmakers: Daniel Reyenieju (PDP, Delta), Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers), and Jones Onyeriri himself.
Below are some of the penalties in the 70 proposed amendments to the BOFIA Act, 2017.
“A fine of N20 million on banks that fail to comply with the conditions of the licence.
“A fine of N20 million on any director that fails to declare any property he/she owns that runs contrary to the Act.
“A fine of N10 million against a director or manager that fails to keep a book of account.
“A fine of N2 million on a bank that fail to publish its annual report of its general meeting in two reputable national dailies”, among others.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Cooperation (NDIC), which made representations at the hearing, said the proposed amendments would help to eliminate sharp practices by commercial banks.
CBN’s Director of Legal Services, Johnson Akinkumi, and his counterpart in the NDIC, Benema Taribo, said the proposed amendments to the BOFIA Act would ensure that bankers adhered to international best practices.
Chairman of the committee, Jones Onyeriri, assured all the stakeholders that the committee would look into the memoranda submitted to it and come up with the best legislation that would reposition the banking sector in Nigeria.
The post Banks To Face Stiffer Penalties Over Arbitrary Charges, Other Infractions appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.
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Author: Ahmed Musa