The two-day public hearing on the proposed amendments to the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2017, by the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency ended on Wednesday in Abuja with far reaching decisions.
The lawmakers at the hearing with stakeholders in the banking industry brainstormed on the way forward for the nation’s financial sector.
While frowning at certain bank practices aimed at ripping off customers of their hard-earned money in the guise of bank charges for sundry services, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, who declared open the hearing on Day one, Tuesday, said bank customers had continued to observe unexplainable and very spurious charges on their accounts.
Yakubu, represented by the House Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyema, said the process of lawmaking was a dynamic one, and as such must continue to evolve to meet with societal changes and needs.
Below are some of the penalties in the 70 proposed amendments to the BOFIA Act, 2017.
“A fine of N20 million on banks that fail to comply with the conditions of the licence; A fine of N20 million on any director that fails to declare any property he/she owns that runs contrary to the Act; A fine of N10 million against a director or manager that fails to keep a book of account.
There is also “A fine of N2 million on a bank that fail to publish its annual report of its general meeting in two reputable national dailies”, among others.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Cooperation (NDIC), which made representations at the hearing, said the proposed amendments would help to eliminate sharp practices by commercial banks.
CBN’s Director of Legal Services, Johnson Akinkumi, and his counterpart in the NDIC, Benema Taribo, said the proposed amendments to the BOFIA Act would ensure that bankers adhered to international best practices.
Chairman of the committee, Jones Onyeriri, assured all the stakeholders that the committee would look into the memoranda submitted to it and come up with the best legislation that would reposition the banking sector in Nigeria.
Several banks in Nigeria were represented at the two-day public hearing which ended yesterday in Abuja.