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Reps Order CBN To Suspend New Cash Withdrawal Policy

By: Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to halt the implementation of the new cash withdrawal policy slated for January 9, 2023, pending compliance with the provisions of the Act establishing the bank.

The House also summoned CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele in accordance with the provisions of the Central Bank Act to brief the Chamber on several policies of the bank in recent times.

This was a sequel to a motion of urgent National Importance on the “Need for the Central Bank of Nigeria To Rescind Its Decision on Revised Cash Withdrawal Limits”, moved by a member from Jigawa State Hon Magaji Aliyu.

The House noted that “on the 6th day of December 2022, via a letter marked BSD/DIR/PUB/LAB/015/069, signed by one Haruna B. Mustafa (the Director of Banking Operations) issued the following releases to the public, among which are:

The maximum cash withdrawal over the counter (OTC) by individuals and corporate organizations per week shall henceforth be N100,000.00 and N500,000.00 respectively. Withdrawals above these limits shall attract processing fees of 5% and 10% respectively.

Third-party cheques above N50,000.00 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while extant limits of N10,000,000.00 on clearing cheques still subsist.

The maximum cash withdrawal per week via Automated Teller Machine (ATM) shall be N100,000.00 subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day.

Only denominations of N200.00 and below shall be loaded into the ATMs.

The maximum cash withdrawal via the point of sale (PoS) terminal shall be N20,000.00 daily.

In Compelling  circumstances, not exceeding once a month, where cash withdrawals shall not exceed N5,000,000.00 and N10,000,000.00 for individuals and corporate organizations, respectively, and shall be subject to the referenced processing fees in (1) above, in addition to enhanced due diligence and further information requirements”. The motion said.

“Aware that the majority of the small business owners in Nigeria are the major drivers of Nigeria’s economy, and who are major residents of rural area and carried on their business, trade and activities in the said rural business areas. Further aware that the majority of these small business owners transact their businesses, trade and transactions in physical cash and are in most cases not inclined to the use of electronic banking system as most of them are either illiterate, half-educated or not learned at all”. It said.

It also said that “Disturbed that this set of Nigerians who are the drivers of Nigeria’s economy will be seriously negatively affected and their business and source of livelihood may be seriously impaired with these new directives of the Central bank of Nigeria. Also disturbed that this directive of Central Bank; has been generating serious uproar and given low business owners serious concern since the said released as a result of the impact it may have given short time notice given by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)”.

The House acknowledged that the Central Bank of Nigeria has the right to issue monetary policies on the Nigerian economy to be able to guide and direct the economy to the right part of recovery and growth.

“Concerned, however, that the new policies rolled out by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will definitely have a negative impact on the already dwindling Economy, and further weaken the value of Nigeria as Nigerians may resolve to use dollars and other currencies as a means of trading and thus further devalued Naira and weakens the Economy” The motion noted.

 

House resolutions

The House has however resolved to;

’’Urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to rescind the said policy because of the disadvantages earlier stated, and given the short notice.

Urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to do more advocacy, enlightenment, and sensitization on small business holders across the country before issuing policies and directives that may affect their business concern.

Urge the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to give not less than one (1) year notice in case of any plan to issue such similar notices that may touch directly on small business owners in Nigeria.

Mandate the Committee on Banking & Currency and Legislative compliance to ensure compliance with this resolution.”

There was anger in the House as members took turns to condemn the new cash withdrawal policy, saying it will grossly affect small businesses and the economy since most rural communities do not have access to banks.

Ruling on the motion the speaker Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, directed the CBN to rescind the policy and also summoned him to appear before the house on Thursday morning next week.

 

 

Olusola Akintonde

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