Written by Godfrey AKON

Ignore non e-payment instructions, CBN orders banks

All banks operating in the country have been asked to dishonour payment instructions issued by organisations on salaries, pensions, suppliers and taxes not transmitted on electronic payment and collection platform approved by the Central bank of Nigeria.

This was contained in the revised 2019 regulation on electronic payments and collections for public and private sectors in Nigeria released by the apex bank.

With the new guideline, payment instructions and associated schedules are no longer to be transmitted to banks through unsecured channels, such as paper-based mandates, flash drives, compact discs, CDs, email attachments, by qualifying public and private sector organisations.”

The CBN, in the revised guideline, also announced series of new sanctions to be meted out to banks, mobile money operators, payment solution service providers and other financial institutions for electronic payment infractions.

The new guidelines stated that, “ Further to the implementation of the Guideline on end- to-end electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers and taxes by all public and private sector organisations as directed in the CBN Guidelines referenced (CBN/BPS/PSV/GEN/014/05), DMBs are to dishonour payment instructions for all forms of salaries, pensions, suppliers and taxes not transmitted on a CBN approved straight-through electronic payment and collection platform issued by organisations with more than 20 employees.

According to the apex bank, the objective of the regulations is to fully align with the core objectives of the National Payments System Vision 2020 to ensure the availability of safe, effective and efficient mechanisms for conveniently making and receiving all types of payments from any location and at any time, through multiple electronic channels.

“This will reduce the time and costs of transactions, minimise leakages in revenue receipts and at the same time provide reliable audit trails, thereby ensuring that the Nigerian payments system aligns with international best practices,” it said.

In the area of infractions and penalties, the CBN stated that providing epayment system solution or services without obtaining a license from the CBN shall cause the CBN not to issue a license to operate as a Payment Solution Service Providers, PSSP, for a minimum of 1 year from the date infraction is detected as well as report the defaulting PSSP to the appropriate law enforcement agency

It further stated that non-return of unapplied funds within stipulated timelines shall attract a penalty of N1,000 for every transaction as well as N1,000 for every transaction delayed.

Non-provision of quarterly report on end-to-end e-payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers & taxes to the CBN or submission of false or inaccurate reports shall attract N5,000 penalty for each day for which report is not provided to the CBN and a penalty of N50, 000 and a warning letter to the Managing Director.

The CBN said an operator that failed to make available help desk/ contact centres to receive enquiries, complaints and provide feedback on e -payment issues would bear the costs of all unresolved disputes, adding that other appropriate sanctions could be applied.

It said a receiving bank must notify beneficiaries of electronic payments through the SMS, email or any other automated channel with details of payment received.

The apex bank warned that non-provision of evidence that an automated notification was sent to beneficiaries who signed up for the alert services and charges applied means that the CBN or the solution provider will refund the charges at twice the value deducted.

 

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