CBN lifts suspension on cheque clearing

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has lifted suspension placed on cheque instruments in the Nigerian clearing system. Consequently, cheque instruments will be allowed to pass through the clearing system from today, April 28.

In a circular to banks and Nigeria Interbank Settlement system (NIBSS), CBN Director, Banking Services Department, Sam Okojere, said the bank lifted the temporary suspension of cheque clearing in Nigeria to make payment efficient for customers.

He said the move was in furtherance of CBN’s effort in the development of a safe and efficient payment system in Nigeria.

Okojere said the decision to lift the suspension was taken by the CBN in collaboration with relevant stakeholders after reviewing the need for cheque clearing to accommodate users of cheque as one of the payment instruments in Nigeria, despite some lockdown in some states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He urged Deposit Money Banks to advise their customers accordingly.

The CBN had last month, suspended indefinitely the clearing of cheque instruments in the Nigerian clearing system.

In a circular to all Deposit Money Banks and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Okojere, said the directive became necessary due to the lockdown order issued by the President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory.

The lockdown was to curtail the rise in the number of confirmed cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

The apex bank said in view of the lockdown and in furtherance of its effort to ensure hitch-free clearing and settlement activities, there is need to suspend the clearing of cheques instruments.

The circular with reference number BKS/DIR/GEN/ClR/O7/002 said the suspension would commence from March 31. By the release, no fresh cheque instrument will be allowed to pass through the clearing system from today, except returned cheque till further notice.

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