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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that all accounts without the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the National Identity Number (NIN) will be restricted from performing any transaction beginning on March 1, 2024.

In the same vein, the CBN has made the possession of BVN and NIN mandatory for all bank account openings.

This is contained in a circular issued on Friday and jointly signed by Chibuzo Efobi, Director, Payment System Management Department, and Haruna Mustafa, Financial Policy and Regulation Department.

According to the circular, the directive is necessitated by the CBN’s efforts towards promoting financial system stability by strengthening Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures in financial institutions.

Due to this, the apex bank said implementation would be effective immediately, stressing that no new Tier 1 accounts or wallets should be opened without a BVN or NIN.

Consequently, for all existing Tier 1 accounts and wallets without BVN or NIN, the CBN stated that, effective immediately, any unfunded account or wallet shall be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit” until the new requirement is satisfied.

The circular stated, “Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit” and no further transactions permitted.

“The BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts and wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024.

“Accordingly, the CBN hereby issues an amendment to Section 1.5.3 of the Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) Operations and Watch List for the Nigerian Banking Industry (The Guidelines).”

Also, the CBN said it is mandatory for all Tier-1 bank accounts and wallets for individuals to have BVN and/or NIN and remains mandatory for Tiers 2 and 3 accounts and wallets for individual accounts to have BVN and NIN.

The circular emphasised that the process for account opening shall commence by electronically retrieving BVN and NIN-related information from the NIBSS or NIMC’s databases, and for the same to become the primary information for onboarding new customers.

The circular reads in part, “All existing customer accounts and wallets for individuals with validated BVN shall be profiled by the NIBSS ICAD mediately within 24 hours of opening accounts and wallets.”

“To ensure uniform and full compliance, the Executive Compliance Officers, Chief Compliance Officers, or Heads of the Compliance Functions are advised to acquaint themselves with the attached Guidance Notes, which become applicable to all institutions regulated by the CBN.

“Also, a comprehensive BVN and NIN audit shall be conducted shortly, and where breaches are identified, appropriate sanctions shall be applied.

“Finally, all financial institutions regulated by the CBN are required to apply strict compliance on restrictions on Tier 1 accounts and wallets as they relate to limits on transaction values and cumulative balances.”

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