Ebonyi State workers may not receive salaries should they fail to activate their Bank Verification Number (BVN), Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi has said.

The Details: This is based on a report released by the Central Bank of Nigeria ranking Ebonyi State as the lowest in the South-East zone under the National Financial Inclusion scheme.

According to the state Controller of the CBN, Adayi Onah, the South-East zone is the region with an average exclusion rate of 29.3% under the Financial Access Performance, conducted by the CBN and reported by Punch.

Onah’s words: “Whereas Ebonyi State has 43.6%, which is above the national average of 36.8 per cent and the region average of 29.3%, other states in the zone are recording an average of between 25.4% and 28.7%. Ebonyi State is still very far at 43.6% exclusion rate.” 

Due to the low level of financial inclusion in the state, Onah announced that the CBN planned to launch an account Opening Week to raise awareness on the importance of financial literacy. This is expected to take place between December 2 and 7, 2019.

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Umahi, who was unhappy with the attitude of the state workers to financial inclusion policy of the Federal Government immediately made a proclamation barring workers from receiving salaries till they get an account and activate their BVN.

“No BVN, no salary, whether it is political or not. The deputy governor has BVN and I have BVN. So, any political appointee that does not have the BVN will have no salary. Any civil servant that doesn’t have the BVN will not take a salary until they have the BVN,” he said.

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“The Commissioner for Local Government Affairs; you have to implement this immediately. No salaries for the month of November, December until everybody has the BVN. So, some of you that have not opened an account in your life, you will now open account. They said Ebonyi is the least in bank account opening, it shouldn’t be,” he added.

Recent Developments: Meanwhile, a new rule dedicated to checking fraudulent practices of bank customers is set to be introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This additional rule, according to Sam Okojere, CBN Director, Payment System Management, would be imposed on the operations of the Bank Verification Number (BVN), according to a Nairametrics article.

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The decision of the CBN to move in this direction is based on a report obtained by Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), in 2018. The report attributed 89% of financial services fraud in Nigeria to digital channels and a meagre 11% to non-electronic channels.

[READ MORE: Minister of Labour, Ngige, says labour demand will force government to sack workers]

Bottom line: If the majority of Ebonyi State workers have no accounts, how have they been paid their salaries over the years?

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