Business News

Naira scarcity: Reps moves to compel banks to overhaul their IT infrastructure

Key Highlights

  • The lower chamber of the National Assembly wants the CBN to direct banks to upgrade their IT infrastructure for seamless online transactions.
  • The lawmakers have adopted a motion to that effect.
  • The lawmakers lamented that Nigerians have been going through untold hardships as a result of hitches on banks’ online payment platforms.

The House of Representatives on Thursday adopted a motion asking the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to direct commercial banks to overhaul the existing online/electronic banking platforms for the efficient conduct of electronic banking operations.

The motion was moved by Honourable Sergius Ogun representing Edo State. Moving the motion earlier, Ogun said that Section 88 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, empowered the National Assembly to conduct investigations into activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by the assembly like the CBN.

He said the CBN was established under Section 1 of the CBN Act, to issue legal tender currencies in Nigeria. According to him, Section 2 of the Act saddles the CBN with the duty of promoting a sound financial system in Nigeria.

Hitches in online transactions: Lamenting that many Nigerians have been experiencing hitches across banks’ online payment channels over the last 3 months, Ogun said:

  • “In the wake of the recent naira redesign and cash withdrawal limit policy of the CBN, there has been an increase in the use of online and electronic banking services to carry out monetary transactions across the country.
  • “The use of online or internet banking services by Nigerians in the past three months or thereabout has been characterized by varying degrees of hitches ranging from unsuccessful electronic bank transfers, Point of Sale (PoS) service failure, and a host of others.
  • “Disturbed that the ineffectiveness or difficulty in using internet banking services across the online banking platforms of most commercial banks in Nigeria has brought untold hardship, suffering and difficulties on Nigerians in the past three months.
  • “We are worried that if nothing is done by the CBN to address these difficulties or ineffectiveness, Nigerians will continue to suffer untold hardships and loss of monies to unsuccessful electronic bank transactions.”

In his ruling, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Ahmed Wase, mandated the Committee on Banking and Currency to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

The back story: Since the beginning of the cash scarcity in late January this year, customers of major banks in the country have been having unpleasant experiences while trying to transfer funds or perform any form of transaction on their mobile apps.

Many became stranded due to the non-availability of cash in ATMs and even over the counter, while transactions over the apps have become a nightmare.

While in many cases, the apps do not open at all, in cases where they open, making a transfer becomes impossible. In other instances where the customer is able to transfer, the intended receiver does not get credited and this becomes a problem. Aside from the apps, pressure has also been on the USSD, which is an alternative transaction channel, leading to an increase in failed transactions over the channel.

The banks are said to lack adequate infrastructure capacity to withstand the surge in online transactions since the cash scarcity started.

Back to top button