By Nse Anthony-Uko
(Sundiata Finance) — The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) to place all accounts without Biometric Verification Number (BVN) on a ‘post no debit’ status.
OFIs operators are those in Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Primary Mortgage Institutions, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), Discount House, Bureaux-de-change, among others.
The CBN in a circular signed by Director, Other Financial Institutions supervision department, Mr. Adedeji Adesemoye, said credit lodgments inclusive of deposits and inward transfers, maybe received into such accounts. He directed those in the OFIs operators to continue to enroll customers of such accounts and remove the suspension once they comply.
According to the signed circular, “following the expiration of the extended deadline of December 31, 2017 from your customers to enroll and/or submit their BVN details to your institutions, you are required to place all accounts without BVN on a ‘post no debit’ status. However, credit lodgments inclusive of deposits and inward transfers, maybe received into such accounts.
“You are required to continue to enroll customers of such accounts and only remove the ‘post no debit’ restriction when a valid BVN has been obtained and submitted by the customer or the customer has been duly enrolled by your institution. Our earlier directive on the conspicuous display of notices sensitizing customers n BVN in the banking hall” Adesemoye said.
He reiterated that the apex bank will continue to monitor compliance and sanction may be imposed on non-compliance. “Please note that this directive takes effect immediately and the CBN will continue to monitor compliance. Non-compliance will be met with appropriate sanctions,” the circular signed by Adesemoye explained.
Before now, The President, National Association of Microfinance Bank (NAMB), Mr. Nwoke Rogers, has said the association is not requesting from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) extension to its Biometric Verification Number (BVN) registration that ends December 31, 2017. The apex bank had extended the deadline from July 1 to December to allow more prospective MFBs customers to register on BVN.
In a telephone chat with LEADERSHIP, he said, “We are not clamouring for BVN extension because Nigerians will not want to register until the last minutes. Many of our members across the country have the machine. There are machines in our branches across the country for customers to enroll. That is the only way MFBs can achieve full enrolment across the country.
“The restriction according to CBN is that after December 31, 2017, MFB customer without BVN will not be allowed to transact until they have BVN linked to their accounts. It is not that their funds will be trapped. Once they have BVN, they will definitely have access to their accounts. Some states have more people that are yet to register but the BVN is available for them to do so after the deadline” he said.
CBN had explained that BVN enrollment in the OFIs will support the achievement of the zero default credit targets set for the Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) in the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF). “It will also open opportunities for credit to millions of Nigerians without a standard means of identification,” CBN had said last year.
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By Nse Anthony-Uko