BVN enrolment ends tomorrow as sanction looms for defaulters



The Biometric Verification Number project commissioned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in conjunction with the Bankers Committee, would be ending tomorrow, with 21 million registered customers recorded.

However, with the registration ongoing until October 31, The Guardian investigations showed that bank customers were more about linking their accounts to the BVN than fresh enrollment.

Specifically, in a visit to 18 branches of 10 different banks in the industry in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area and nearby environs, only 45 customers cumulatively were recorded, while more than two-third of them came to link their accounts with the BVN obtained from another bank where they also have accounts.

Expectedly, the next phase would be the enforcement of the prescribed sanctions, which include non-access to accounts until compliance and restriction from foreign exchange transactions.

The apex bank had extended the registration period by three months after the initial deadline of June 30, 2015, providing more time and facilities to enhance seamless enrolment.

An analysis of the trend in registration showed that as at October 25, 20.8 million bank customers have enrolled, compared to 19 million as at July 30.

Meanwhile, CBN said that given the assessed tradition of multiple accounts holding by an average Nigerian, which could be conservatively estimated at about two or three per account holder, it could be safely assumed that over 40 million accounts might have been enrolled to BVN.

Still, the development is raising another question over the depth of the financial inclusion initiative, as the BVN project may be showing that only little above 21 million Nigerians have a formal account with banks.

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