By Isaac Kertyo
In a bid to ease huge cash management and deepen financial inclusion, the Central Bank of Nigeria has released guidelines for the operation of the Bank Neutral Cash Hubs.
According to a statement on its website, the CBN said that the release of the guidelines is in furtherance of its mandate to promote a sound financial system in Nigeria.
It said it is part of its collaborative efforts with the Banker’s Committee to reduce cost and improve operational efficiency in the country’s cash management.
“The CBN, in collaboration with the Banker’s Committee, initiated the Nigerian Cash Management System which seeks to reduce cost and improve operational efficiency in the country’s cash management value chain.
“One initiative towards the stated goal is the introduction of BNCH.
“BNCHs are cash collection centers to be established by registered processing companies or Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) based on business needs.
“They will be located in areas with high volumes of commercial activities and cash transactions,” the apex bank said.
It added that the hubs would provide platforms for customers to make cash deposits and receive value irrespective of the bank with which their accounts are domiciled.
“This guideline aims to provide minimum standards and requirements for BNCH registration and operations for effective supervision.
“The key objective is to reduce the risks and cost borne by banks, merchants, and huge cash handlers in the course of cash management activities.
“It will also deepen financial inclusion and leverage on shared services to enhance cash management efficiency,” it said.
According to the CBN guidelines, a BNCH is permitted to carry out activities like receipt of Naira denominated deposits on behalf of financial institutions from individuals and businesses with high volumes of cash.
“It can also carry out high volume cash disbursement to members of the public on behalf of financial institutions, and any other activities that may be permitted by the CBN.
“But it is not permitted to carry out investing or lending activities, or receive, disburse, or engage in any transaction involving foreign currency,” it said.
It called on eligible promoters like DMBs and Cash Processing Companies (CPCs) to apply for registration of BNCH.
“Prospective promoters of BNCH shall apply in writing to the Director, Currency Operations Department,” it said.