BVN: Experts fault order as ultimatum draws near

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By Odunewu Segun

With barely few days to the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum given to banks by a Federal High Court that accounts without BVN should be frozen or show cause why the balances in such accounts should not be forfeited, analysts have started picking holes in the order.

According to them, the order if implemented will lead to massive drop in Diaspora remittances from Nigerians abroad and further frustrate ongoing efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and banks to deepen access to financial services especially to the underserved and majority rural dwellers who currently have issues of names mismatched.

Some of the experts who spoke with National Daily said whereas it will amount to avoidable expenses for Nigerians living abroad to be forced back home simply because of formalizing their BVN, more time is still needed to educate rural dwellers on the importance of regularizing their banking documentation to fit into the demands of BVN.

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Already, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Ms. Abike Dabiri-Erewa has appealed to both the CBN and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, to put modalities and logistics in place for Nigerians in the Diaspora to obtain their own BVN.

She said the aim is not only to avoid forfeiture of their savings in their respective bank accounts, but to further encourage them in their remittance spree which is good for the economy.

Although there are strong indications that a consortium of commercial banks are working to appeal the order up to the Supreme Court, Dabiri-Erewa reiterated her appeals to Nigerians abroad to urgently take steps to register for the BVN.

Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement, implored CBN to make it possible to all Nigerians in the Diaspora to have their BVN done in their countries of abode as there have been challenges in getting it before now.

Nigerians in the Diaspora has been remitting billions of US Dollars back to the country on yearly basis, the highest on the continent of Africa, thus contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.

The World Bank had earlier this month and before the order, projected that up to $22 billion will flow into Nigeria in 2017 through Diaspora remittances, noting that global remittance flow is set to recover this year after two consecutive years of decline.

Recall that Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja had on Oct. 17, 2017 granted the interim order directing 19 commercial banks to file an affidavit of disclosure before the court, stating the names of the accounts as operated, account numbers and outstanding balances.

According to the order, all banks operating in the country will either freeze accounts without BVN or show cause within 14 days why the balances in such accounts should not be forfeited.

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