The Minister ofFinance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) toextend Bank Verification Number (BVN) requirement to account holders inMicrofinance Banks (MFBs).
She saidthis would facilitate the detection of bank accounts which might have beenopened and operated in such banks by ghost workers and other syndicates.
A statement by the ministry’s Directorof Information, Mr. Salisu Dambatta in Abuja on Monday, said Adeosun hadwritten to the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to make her case.
The minister said that the introductionof BVN by the CBN had contributed immensely in improving the integrity of theFederal Government payroll on which more than 50,000 ghost workers weredetected and removed.
She said that operating bank accounts inMicrofinance Banks without requirement for BVN had left a huge loophole whichindividuals with intent on financial crimes could use to hide and launderproceeds of crime and successfully escape detection by law enforcementagencies.
Adeosun referred the CBN governor to the discovery that prior to the deadline for obtaining the BVN, there had beenmovement of a large number of salary accounts of federal employees fromcommercial banks to microfinance banks.
“This is a suspicious activity and wehave already commenced a review of such cases to identify and investigate anycases of fraud.
“We know that extending the requirementfor BVN to Microfinance Banks may put a huge financial strain on the smallerMicrofinance Banks; however, some MFBs such as National Police ForceMicrofinance (NPF), have over 27,000 salary accounts.
“Our inability to perform checks on sucha large number of salary earners is a key risk.
“I am therefore seeking your cooperationto enforce compliance with BVN on any MFB with over 200 active salary accountsor those above a certain size.
“This will support the FederalGovernment’s efforts at reducing leakages to create headroom for the capitalprojects that will support the growth of the economy,” she said.
The CBN had, in September 2016,announced its intention to extend the requirement for the extension of the BVNto MFBs in the country, but the exercise had not taken off.