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CBN defends cash withdrawal limit, tells senate panel time for full implementation of cashless policy is now

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in an explanation to the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, has defended its revised cash withdrawal limits for individuals and corporate organizations, saying that the time for the full implementation of the cashless policy is now.

The apex bank said that the cashless policy had been introduced since 2012, during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, with a pilot scheme in Lagos, and later extended to Abuja and 6 other states in 2013.

This explanation was made by CBN’s Deputy Governor on Financial System Stability, Mrs. Aisha Ahmad, during her screening and that of her counterpart, Edward Adamu, for re-appointment as Deputy Governors of the CBN by the senate panel.

Ahmad insisted that the cashless policy, as fully implemented by CBN now, was not new as required steps were taken in 2012 with Lagos State as a pilot scheme and Abuja and 6 other states in 2013.

Required infrastructure for implementation available in 774 LGAs

Ahmad, who explained that although the full implementation of the policy had not been carried out by CBN since then, however, noted that its introduction had brought a lot of transformation in the banking and payment system.

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  • She said, ”Distinguished Chairman of this committee and members, I‘m happy for the opportunity given to make presentations on the planned N100,000 withdrawal limit for individuals and N500, 000 for Corporate Bodies per week beginning from Jan. 9, 2023, in line with cashless policy introduced in 2012.
  • ”Based on information available to CBN, the time for full implementation of the policy with proposed limit on cash withdrawals per week is now.
  • ”Required infrastructure for its implementation in terms of financial access point system, mobile money, e – naira, etc. are available across the 774 local government councils in the country.
  • ”All fears and worries being expressed by Nigerians on the planned limited cash withdrawal policy are seriously being taken care of as nobody or section of Nigerians will be left out.
  • ”In the past, banking transactions in Nigeria were limited to Bank Branches alone as the only means which had now expanded into multiple electronic platforms as well as a geometrical increase in the number of agents from 88,000 to 1.4 million.’

She, however, said that the CBN was flexible and would be ready to accommodate opinions that won’t make the policy challenging to any category of Nigerians during implementation.

After her presentation, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Uba Sani (APC -Kaduna) asked the 2 nominees to take a bow and go as moved by the Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC-Abia) and seconded by Senator Danjuma Goje (APC-Gombe).

  • Uba said: ”With presentation made by the Deputy Governor of CBN on Financial System Stability, Aisha Ndanusa Ahmad on the planned limited cash withdrawal, required information on the merits of the policy has been given and will be communicated to the Senate in plenary through our report.
  • ” The two deputy governors, having earlier been screened before serving their first tenures, need not to again as unanimously agreed by members of the Committee.’’

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  • Recall that on December 6, 2022, the CBN in a new circular placed limits on over-the-counter cash withdrawals, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawals, and point of sale (PoS) withdrawals.
  • The apex bank in a memo directed all banks and other financial institutions to ensure that over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100,000 and N500, 000, respectively, per week.
  • It also directed that only N200 and lower denominations should be loaded into banks’ ATMs.
  • After the policy takes effect, all cash withdrawals above the stated limits will attract processing fees of 5% and 10%, respectively.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives in its resolution 2 days ago, asked the CBN to immediately suspend the planned implementation of its new policy on revised cash withdrawal limits for individuals and corporate organizations.

The members of the lower house who appear unhappy, also summoned the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to appear before it over the new policy and a series of other policies churned out lately.

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