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Major Banks (Access, GTB, UBA, Zenith, Others) Sound Alarm Over FG’s Directive to Debit Customer Accounts

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In a startling move, Nigerian banks are gearing up to debit their customers’ accounts following a directive from the federal government. This charge targets customers with domiciliary accounts and aims to settle the backlog of old foreign currency transactions, channeling the deductions straight into government coffers. The major players in the banking sector—Access Bank, GTB, UBA, Zenith, among others—have alerted their customers to brace for these impending debits.

The trigger for these deductions stems from the long-overdue implementation of the Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL), as mandated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Dating back to transactions between 2021 and 2023, the levy will incur a deduction of N50 on every N10,000 foreign currency transaction. This levy, previously applicable only to certain electronic deposits, now extends its reach to encompass foreign currency inflows, sparking concerns and reactions among bank customers across the country.

Additionally, in a parallel development, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has activated automatic debit orders on accounts belonging to debtors and defaulters in commercial banks. Governor Olayemi Cardoso disclosed that over N10 trillion had been loaned under various intervention schemes, showcasing the CBN’s active role in financing several agricultural projects. Between September and October 2022 alone, the apex bank disbursed a staggering N41.02 billion to numerous agricultural projects under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, demonstrating its commitment to supporting smallholder farmers nationwide.