Written by Godfrey AKON

CBN lifts suspension on cheque clearing

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has lifted the temporary suspension it placed on cheque clearing in the Nigerian clearing system.

In a circular addressed to all Deposit Money Banks, DMBs, and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, the apex bank noted that cheque instruments will be allowed to pass through the clearing system, with effect from April 28, 2020.

Recall that the regulator had issued a circular on March 30, 2020, indefinitely suspending the clearing of cheques in the Nigerian clearing system till further notice.

The move followed the directive by President Mohammadu Buhari to implement a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

But on Monday April 27, 2020, the bank reversed the suspension directing money banks to advise their customers accordingly.

“In furtherance of its effort in the development of a safe and efficient payments system in Nigeria, the Bank in collaboration with relevant stakeholders has reviewed the need for cheque clearing to accommodate users of cheque as one of the payment instruments in Nigeria, despite the lockdown of some states and FCT.

“In view of this development, the Bank hereby lift the temporary suspension of cheque clearing in Nigeria.

“Consequently, cheque instruments will be allowed to pass through clearing system, with effect from April 28, 2020. Deposit Money Banks are encouraged to advise their customers of this directives. Please be guided accordingly,” the circular read.

Meanwhile, the CBN has also revised the deadlines for compliance with the minimum capital requirements for Microfinance Banks, MFBs, in Nigeria.

The bank said the review was in consideration of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activities in the country.

“Consequently, the CBN has extended the deadlines for compliance with the revised minimum capital requirements for all categories of MFBs by one year as follows: MFBs operating in rural, unbanked and under banked areas (Tier 2) shall meet the N35 million capital threshold by April 2021 and N50 million by April 2022.

“MFBS operating in urban and high density banked areas (Tier 1) are expected to meet the N100 million capital threshold by April 2021 and 4200 million by April 2024. State MFBs shall increase their capital to N500 million by April 2021 and N1billion by April 2022, and National MFBs are expected to meet minimum capital of N3.5 billion capital by April 2021 and N5 billion by April 2022,” CBN said.



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