*Admits That Present Charge Is Relatively Higher Than That Of Previous Years
*Promises Reduction In Charge And Refund For Already Made Payments

The leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association has responded to concerns raised by a cross-section of its members on the exorbitant transaction fee charged by Paystack for the online payment of the Bar practising fees.

Recall, that on the 1st of January, TheNigeriaLawyer reported the NBA’s directive that payments of BPF this year be made through the NBA online portal.

This directive has elicited reactions from members of the Bar notable among which include J.S Okutepa SAN, NBA 1st Vice President, John Aikpokpo and Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN.

There have also been concerns raised by some members of the Bar about the increase in the transaction fee charged by Paystack for the payment of the BPF.

In a statement made available to TheNigeriaLawyer on Monday, the Publicity Secretary of the NBA Dr. Rapulu Nduka informed members of the Bar that the NBA NEC has taken cognizance of their concerns and is engaging with Paystack to reduce the rate.

The statement reads;

Dear Colleagues,

The leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has read several commentaries, and also received numerous calls, regarding the costs charged by NBA’s long-standing service provider (Paystack) for settling transactions on the BPF Online Payment Platform.

To be sure, the common theme of the complaints is that the transaction costs are exorbitant and need to be reviewed downwards. We have taken on board all the complaints and now respond as follows:

1. The leadership of the NBA is open to all criticisms aimed at advancing our common cause, improving our processes/systems, protecting the interests of our members and overall, moving our profession forward. The NBA therefore welcomes and appreciates the concerns that have, so far, been expressed on this issue.

2. For the avoidance of doubt, there has been no increase in the amount payable as BPF. The transaction costs (ranging from a floor of N177 to a maximum of N863 for SANs and Benchers) that members are charged when they pay their BPF online are wholly and exclusively due to Paystack for its services. No portion of those costs are shared with, or remitted to, the NBA.

3. Indeed, upon our review of the fees charged by Paystack for similar transactions in the past, such as payment of 2021 BPF and payment of fees for the 2021 NBA-AGC, the leadership of the NBA agrees that the current charges are relatively on the high side. It was our understanding that the fees chargeable on the payment of 2022 BPF would not be different from what was paid last year.

4. On the basis of the above, the NBA has started engaging with Paystack to review the charges downwards. This engagement has however been impacted by the public holidays albeit we expect that the issue will be resolved shortly.

5. Once this happens, the charges will be reduced and those lawyers who already paid the higher sum will receive a pro rata refund of the charges paid.

We thank you for your understanding.

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