The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured Nigerians that financial services would be undisrupted during COVID-19 lockdown. This is even as it suspended the clearing of all cheque instruments in the Nigerian clearing system.
The apex bank gave the assurance on its official twitter handle @cenbank, assuring the general public that the financial services would be undisrupted during COVID-19 Lockdown.
According to the CBN, alternative payment channels such as electronic/internet banking, mobile money, POS and USSD should be used during the no movement restriction order by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Bank, however, noted that in view of the ongoing restrictions and in order to check further spread of the coronavirus disease, while urging the general public to limit their use of cash and avail themselves of the use of alternative payment channels.
“Financial institutions will remain operational during this period and therefore should guard against panic withdrawals from their banks”, it explained.
Meanwhile,from yesterday, Tuesday, 31 March 2020, the apex bank has suspended the clearing of all cheque instruments in the Nigerian clearing system.
A circular signed and sent out to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and the Nigeria Internal Settlement System (NIBSS) by the CBN on Monday stated: “no fresh cheque instrument will be allowed to pass-through clearing system on March 31, 2020.”
“Only returned cheques would be treated on the said date.”
The circular with reference identity REF: BKS/DIR/GEN/CIR/07/002 signed by Sam C Okojere, Director Banking Services Department attributed the decision to “recent developments and in furtherance to the Bank’s efforts to ensure hitch-free clearing and settlement activities.”
The recent developments he referred to was President Buhari’s nation wide broadcast on Sunday where he announced a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun states and Federal Capital Territory for two weeks in the interim starting from 11 pm of March 30th, 2020 as a means of combating the spread of the Corona virus and to ensure the safety of all Nigerians.
However, the circular noted that “settlement activities for electronic instruments will continue to hold during this period of suspension.”
In another development, the Central Bank of Nigeria has released the list of financial institutions that have been granted an exemption to be seen outside during two weeks lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT.
They are staff of: the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Deposit Money Banks (DMBs); Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc; Switching companies; Mobile money operators and Payment solution service providers.