Home Finance CBN lifts suspension on cheque clearing

CBN lifts suspension on cheque clearing

by Business News Report

Indication are that the Central Bank of Nigeria has lifted its hold on interbank cheques clearing. This indication emerged from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha. He said that CBN has directed banks to commerce cheque clearing from Monday 27th April 2020. He was answering reporters question during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had put on hold clearing in the Nigerian financial system. CBN said that all deposit money banks in the country and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) are to put on hold the clearing of all cheque instruments in the Nigerian Clearing System, starting from March 31st, 2020. 

According to the apex bank’s Director of Banking Services Department, Sam C. Okojere, the directive is intended to “ensure hitch-free clearing and settlement activities” during the 14-day lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun state. Following the directive, which took effect today, new cheques will no longer be allowed to pass through the Nigerian Clearing System which is overseen by the NIBSS. In other words, deposit money banks were to stop accepting fresh cheques that require to go through the clearing system. 

Settlement activities will continue for already existing cheques that are lodged into the clearing system prior to the suspension. The Nigerian Clearing System integrates all the banks in the country, making it possible for customers of different banks to easily clear cheques issued to them by other account holders who do not necessarily bank with the same financial institution. Following the suspension, therefore, Nigerians were no longer able to clear cheques issued to them by third party bank account holders until further now that the suspension is lifted.  The suspension was part of efforts to ensure a hitch-free settlement activities during the lockdown period.

It will be recalled that the Federal Government of Nigeria declared a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory as part of efforts to contain the Coronavirus pandemic which has recently begun to spread across most parts of the country.  The CBN, had how ever in an earlier press statement said that it had obtained permission from the presidency to enable “skeletal operations” by banks. This is in a bid to meet the emergency financial needs of Nigerians during the lockdown period.

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