House of Representatives has frowned at excess charges and illegal deductions by commercial banks, in breach of extant provisions of the law.

Adopting a motion initiated by Godwin Offiono at the plenary chaired by Speaker Tajudeen Abass, the House mandated its Committee on Banking and Currency to probe into the issue and report within one month. It also mandated its committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure implementation of the outcome of the probe.

Offiono claimed he was privy to information that some banks and financial institutions unethically fleece customers through excess charges and unauthorised deductions.

The lawmaker further said customers of different commercial banks had been groaning over excessive charges on their accounts. He, particularly, claimed that Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) introduced different deductions to increase their income, a development, which customers found uncomfortable.

Offiono said he was aware that apart from Stamp Duty, bank customers also pay Value Added Tax (VAT) applicable on all VAT-able transactions in their account.

He noted that commercial banks charge outrageous interests on loans and overdraft, at a rate that is higher than details agreed upon in offer letter. He also decried arbitrary increase in interest rate on loans and overdrafts, and increase in the other fees without notifying customers and getting their consent.

Also, the House of Representatives, yesterday, asked federal universities to immediately suspend implementation of fee increments. The lawmakers warned that the increment could force students to drop out of school.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Aliyu Sani Madaki, titled, ‘Call to Suspend Implementation of Increase in Tuition Fees of Universities’.

Citing poor funding of tertiary education and rising inflation in the country, Madaki claimed federal universities have increased tuition fees from 100 to 200 per cent, while hostel fees have jumped from 50 to 100 per cent.

He said some of the affected institutions include Bayero University, Kano (BUK), University of Nigeria, Nsukka; University of Uyo; University of Maiduguri; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike and Federal University, Dutse.

He expressed concern that the hike in fees is happening against worsening poverty level in the country, inflation and high rate of unemployment, and recent fuel price increase.

The House, consequently, asked the Federal Ministry of Education to review new fees and revert to the old regime. It also called on the Federal Government to adequately fund the education sector by increasing budgetary provisions.


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