The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced a series of new sanctions that will be meted out to deposit money banks, mobile money operators, payment solution service providers and other financial institutions for electronic payment infractions.
The CBN, on Tuesday, issued the ‘Regulations on Electronic Payments and Collections for Public and Private Sectors in Nigeria’, which it described as a revision of the Guidelines on Electronic Payment of Salaries, Pensions, Suppliers and Taxes in Nigeria (2014).
It said the regulations were intended to guide the end-to-end electronic payment of salaries, pensions and other remittances, suppliers and revenue collections in the country.
According to the apex bank, the objective of the regulations is to fully align with the core objectives of the National Payments System Vision 2020 to ensure the availability of safe, effective and efficient mechanisms for conveniently making and receiving all types of payments from any location and at any time, through multiple electronic channels.
“This will reduce the time and costs of transactions, minimise leakages in revenue receipts and at the same time provide reliable audit trails, thereby ensuring that the Nigerian payments system aligns with international best practices,” it said.
The regulations apply to all CBN-regulated entities operating in the country and mandates adoption, implementation and compliance with the directives on end-to-end electronic payments of all forms of salaries, pensions and other remittances, and revenue collections including taxes, levies, penalties and recoveries.
The CBN said banks should dishonor payment instructions issued by organisations with more than 20 employees for all forms of salaries, pensions, suppliers and taxes not transmitted on a CBN-approved electronic payment and collection platform.
“This means payment instructions and associated schedules are no longer to be transmitted to the DMBs through unsecured channels, such as paper-based mandates, flash drives, compact discs, and email attachments by qualifying public and private sector organisations,” it added
The central bank said failure by banks and others to consummate electronic payments within the timelines prescribed in the relevant payment channel regulation would attract a penalty of N1,000 per transaction or any part thereof not consummated within stipulated timeline.
According to regulations, non-provision of monthly report on reported complaints and resolution status to the CBN would attract N5,000 penalty for each day for which the report is not provided.
It said it would impose a penalty of N250, 000 and issue a warning letter to the the managing director of the bank, MMO or OFI for the submission of false or inaccurate reports.
The CBN said an operator that failed to make available help desk/contact centres to receive enquiries, complaints and provide feedback on e-payment issues would bear the costs of all unresolved disputes, adding that other appropriate sanctions could be applied.
It said a receiving bank must notify beneficiaries of electronic payments through the SMS, email or any other automated channel with details of payment received.
According to the regulations, non-provision of evidence that an automated notification was sent to beneficiaries who signed up for the alert services and charges applied means that the CBN or the solution provider will refund the charges at twice the value deducted.