The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) on Monday suspended indefinitely, the clearing of cheques instruments in the Nigerian clearing system, The Punch reports.
The apex bank disclosed in a circular released on Monday to all Deposit Money Banks and the Nigeria InterBank Settlement System.
The circular with was signed by the CBN Director, Banking Services Department, Sam Okojere.
The apex bank said the directive became imperative due to the lockdown ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory.
The lockdown was to curb the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The apex bank stated that in view of the lockdown and in furtherance of its effort to ensure hitch-free clearing and settlement activities, there is need to suspend the clearing of cheques instruments.
The circular said the suspension would commence from March 31, adding that no fresh cheque instrument will be allowed to pass through the clearing system on that day.
It said only returned cheque would be treated on March 31.
The circular read in part: “Please recall that the first index case of COVlD-19 was recorded in Nigeria on 27th February, 2020 and since that date, there has been some level of increase in the number of confirmed cases in the country.
“The President, through a nationwide broadcast yesterday, announced a locked down in Lagos and Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory for two weeks in the interim, starting from 11:00 pm. of March 30, 2020 as a means of combating the spread of the virus and to ensure the safety of all Nigerians.
“In view of these recent developments and in furtherance to the Bank’s effort to ensure hitch-free clearing and settlement activities, the Central Bank of Nigeria hereby suspend, until further notice, the clearing of cheques instruments in the Nigerian Clearing System starting from March 31, 2020.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no fresh cheque instrument will be allowed to pass through clearing system on March 31, 2020. Only returned cheque would be treated on the said date.”
The circular, however, said settlement activities for electronic instruments would continue to hold during the period of suspension.