Citing the outbreak of Covid- 19 and the impact it had on the project, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has amended key implementation dates for the revised Nigeria Cheque Standard (NCS) and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS).
A circular posted on the apex bank’s website, signed by the Director, Banking Services Department at the CBN, Sam Okojere, shows that with the amended timeline, the cut-off date of the parallel run for the scheme, during which old and new cheques would be allowed to co-exist, has been extended from August 31, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
Thus, only new cheques would be allowed into the clearing system from January 1, 2021. The statement also said that banks that are unable to fully migrate to the new standard would have to write to the Director, Banking Services Department, to obtain a waiver for a maximum period of three months, ending March 31, 2021. The CBN, however, stressed that “waivers will only be granted if reasons for the inability to migrate are satisfactory after management consideration.”
Furthermore, the CBN stated that “fuedition of the Nigeria Cheque Standard(NCS) and the Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS) Version 2.0 will commence April 1, and the NCS/ NICPAS 2.0 sanction grid will be fully operational on April 1, 2021.”
Noting that changes to the implementation timeline were aimed at ensuring a smooth migration to the revised NCS and the NICPAS Version 2.0, the CBN advised lenders to enlighten their customers and put necessary measures in place for the take -off of the new standard. The regulator had, in September 2019, approved a new cheque standard, which introduced a new digit on the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition code line and expiry dates for new cheque books.