Cashless Economy: Senate urges CBN to adjust withdrawal limits

*The Federal lawmakers have argued the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cash withdrawal policy will adversely affect Nigerians in the informal sector, the unbanked, and those in rural communities besides putting the Point of Sales operators out of business in the economy

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Following a recent plenary in the National Assembly (NASS), in Abuja, FCT, the Nigerian Senate  Wednesday, December 14, 2022, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to considerably adjust its cash withdrawal limits.

ConsumerConnect had reported that the Bankers’ Bank last Wednesday announced certain cash withdrawal limits for individual and corporate banks’ customers in Over-the-Counter (OTC) transactions.

Customers in a banking hall in Nigeria

The Bank has limited maximum daily withdrawals via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sale (PoS) terminals to N20,000.

The latest request by the Upper Legislative Chamber of NASS is said to be in response to the public outcry against the new monetary policy in the payments system.

Sequel to their resolution Wednesday, the Senate asked its Committee on Banking and Finance to embark on aggressive oversight of the CBN as regards the implementation of the policy, and give periodic reports to the Chamber.

The resolution was reached after an exhaustive debate by the Federal lawmakers, who attended Wednesday’s plenary session, according to report.

Earlier at the plenary, some legislators had contended that the CBN’s set withdrawal threshold is unrealistic vis-a-vis the current economic situation in the West African country.

Likewise, some lawmakers faulted the apex bank for not holding wide consultations on the policy before its announcement to Nigerian consumers.

Still, some legislators argued that the cash withdrawal policy, if fully implementation, would put Point of Sale (PoS) operators out of business in the economy.

According to Senators, the policy will adversely affect Nigerians in the informal sector, the unbanked, and those in rural communities.

The Senate Tuesday, December 13, had postponed its debate on the policy.

However, report indicates the Wednesday’s plenary session recorded a poor attendance of lawmakers.

The plenary session also started later than usual on a day lawmakers had planned to debate the new CBN cash withdrawal policy.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan was not available, as Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege showed up by 12:30p.m., and presided over plenary.

It is recalled the CBN said the new monetary policy followed the launch of the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes by President Muhammadu Buhari November 23, 2022.

The Bankers’ Bank later directed banks to ensure that weekly Over-The-Counter (OTC) cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100,000 and N500,000, respectively.

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