CBN lifts suspension on cheque clearing

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday lifted the suspension placed on interbank cheque clearing.

The new order comes into effect as from Tuesday.

This first indication of the lift of the suspension was given during a press briefing addressed by chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, in Abuja where he said the CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, “told me that he had directed banks to commence interbank cheques clearing.”

This was followed by a circular from the apex bank addressed to all deposit money banks and Nigerian Interbank Settlement System announcing the lift of the suspension.

The circular, titled Re: Temporary Suspension of Cheque Clearing in the Nigerian Clearing System and signed by Director, Banking Services Department, Mr Sam Okojere, stated that “cheque instruments will be allowed to pass through the clearing system, with effect from April 28.”

The statement reads further, “In furtherance of its efforts in the development of a safe and efficient payments system in Nigeria, CBN, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, has reviewed the need for cheque clearing to accommodate usage of cheque as one of the payment instruments in Nigeria, despite the lockdown of some states and the FCT.”

The CBN had earlier in a circular with reference BKS/DIR/GEN/CIR/07/002, directed all deposit money banks in the country and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) to put on hold the clearing of all cheque instruments in the Nigerian Clearing System, from March 31st, 2020.

The decision was hinged on the lockdown of some states and the FCT.

With the lifting of the suspension, cheques can now go for clearing, thus 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.

 

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