Groups demand information from CBN over ATM charges

Two civil society groups have asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to supply them with information relating to the Automated Teller Machines of various banks in the country.

The groups, the Public and Private Development Centre, and Enough is Enough Nigeria, stated in a letter dated September 12 the request following “the directive reintroducing charges on ATM withdrawals in the Nigerian banking sector and which was made effective from September 1, 2014.”

The letter entitled ‘Freedom of information request in respect of the reintroduction of charges on ATM withdrawals from other banks’ was addressed to the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele. Through the letter, which was signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the PPDC, Mr. Seember Nyager, the groups asked the bank to supply them with the information within seven days.

The letter added, “According to the directive, the cost of N65 per transaction would apply to the cardholder from the fourth ‘remote-on-us’ withdrawal in a month. “Considering the need for all banking directives to be made in the national interest, we write to request for documentation that would enable us to properly assess how this decision to reintroduce charges on ATM withdrawals was arrived at.”

The requested information includes the number of ATMs deployed by individual banks in each state; the location of the ATMs deployed by individual bank in each state; records showing the daily transaction down time on the ATM in each state and records of unfulfilled ATM requests compared to fulfilled ATM requests by individual banks across the nation.

It also includes records indicating how much each bank in Nigeria has paid/spent to maintain its ATM infrastructure in the last two years and records showing the amount each bank in Nigeria paid to other banks for remote-on-us transactions in the last two years.

The groups also requested for information on the number of complaints about the ATM services/transactions disaggregated by banks and records of stakeholder consultation meetings that led to the reintroduction of the ATM charges. They also demanded a list of attendees at the stakeholders’ meeting; the interest group represented by each attendee, certified true copies of the minutes of the meetings, resolutions reached at the stakeholders’ consultations and minutes of meeting of the CBN board at which the decision to reintroduced the ATM charges was finally adopted.

The groups, under the Freedom of Information Act, are entitled to approach the court for a compelling order should the apex bank refuse to accede to their requests within seven days.