CBN suspends cheque clearing indefinitely

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed that cheque clearing should be suspended.

According to a notice signed by Sam Okoreje, director of CBN banking services department, the suspension is effective from March 31.

The notice was addressed to all deposit money banks in the country and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS).

The notice said the suspension is related to the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja announced by the president on Sunday.

“In view of these recent developments and in furtherance of the bank’s effort to ensure hitch-free and clearing activities, the Central Bank of Nigeria hereby suspend, until further notice, the clearing of cheques instruments in the Nigerian clearing system starting from March 31, 2020.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no fresh cheque instrument will be allowed to pass through clearing system on March 31, 2020. Only returned cheques will be treated on the said date.”

The notice, however, said settlement activities for electronic instruments will continue to hold during this period of suspension.

The lockdown directive was issued by the president to curb the spread of COVID-19 across the country.

A joint statement by the CBN and ministry of finance, budget and national planning on Monday however said the president has given approval for banks to conduct skeletal services.

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