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The Policy Will Hurt Economy Badly- Nigerian Senators Kick Against CBN Cash Withdrawal Limit

Nigerian Senators on Wednesday expressed reservation over the new Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) policy on cash withdrawals, saying it would make many businesses to collapse in the country.

The apex bank, under the new withdrawal policy which was announced on Tuesday, had restricted the maximum cash withdrawal over the counter (OTC) by individuals and corporate organisations per week to N100,000 and N500,000 respectively. It had also limited individual Point of Service (PoS) withdrawal to N20, 000 per day.

Via a circular titled ‘Naira Redesign Policy – Revised Cash Withdrawal’, the CBN had said the policy would take effect on January 9, 2023.

Mixed reactions by the senators and other stakeholders have been trailing the policy since its announcement.

Senate Minority Leader Phillip Aduda (PDP, FCT) had, during Wednesday’s plenary, called the attention of his colleagues to the new policy while seconding a motion that the nominations of Mrs Aishah Ahmad and Mr Edward Lametek Adamu as CBN Deputy Governors be referred to the committee for screening.  

Aduda called for caution on the cash withdrawal limit, saying the policy would hurt the country’s economy badly. 

“Our commerce, I think, is not is not ready for this and our economy cannot take this shock. 

“There is need for us to speak about it because people are suffering and it is a very serious issue,” he said.

Corroborating Aduda’s position, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue) asked the Senate to debate the policy immediately for the sake of Nigerians, whom, he said, were extremely worried. 

“My phone was inundated by calls from constituents, who are outside the formal sector. People are extremely worried. You should have allowed us to discuss this issue for the sake of Nigerians,” he said. 

We can’t go cashless in a hurry – Lawan

In his remarks during the plenary, Senate President Ahmad Lawan cautioned the CBN not to approach the policy by jumping into it at once, saying many Nigerians would be affected. 

He further noted that there was the need for the National Assembly to engage the CBN to get more details on the policy. 

He, therefore, directed the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to discuss the matter during the screening of the CBN Deputy Governors.

Lawan also assured that the new policy would be thoroughly debate next Tuesday. 

 “At the moment, I will advise that these two deputy governors had been in the CBN for the past four years. So, they are part of this system. They are not new people.  

“This should be part of the major issues to be raised when they appear for screening. 

“I want us to be properly informed and guided. Most of us if not all of us have not had an engagement with that institution. 

“My personal opinion is: if we want to be a cashless society, we should take time to be cashless society and not to jump on it at once. Most Nigerians will be out of business. 

“But we need to take the opportunity of the screening to be better informed on the policy,” he said. 

Policy will kill our business – PoS operators

A cross section of Point of Service (PoS) operators in Abuja interviewed said the policy, if implemented, would send them out of business. 

Kingsley Mbah, an operator, said the policy would reduce his daily profit.

“We’re doing POS job because we don’t have any other things to do, now they want to snatch it away from us. When we go to bank, I can get up to N400,000, I’ll come back to manage it to give those that come for withdrawal and I can make up to N5,000 a day.

“With this rule, there’s no way we can make such profit. The highest I can earn is N2,000 or N1,500 which will not cater for my needs,” he said.

Another operator, Michael Emma, said: “Let them (CBN) do their changes and let us be. This policy will affect the youth who make the large chunk of PoS operators, this can make us change our mind to consider crime. To withdraw N20, 000 daily is not possible. For me, in a day; I do over N100, 000 transactions. It’ll not help our work,” he said. 

CNPP backs policy

However, the Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has backed the policy, saying the critics are missing the key gains of the policy, especially ahead of the 2023 general elections.

In a statement yesterday by its Secretary-General, Willy Ezugwu, the CNPP said: “Nigerians are suffering today because of bad governance and every sacrifice towards getting the right leadership into offices from 2023 is worth it.

“Bad governance is a product of Nigeria’s flawed electoral processes over the years which threw bad and corrupt leaders on the masses. This became the case as a result of highly monetized electoral processes.

“But any process that will minimize the domination of the Nigerian political space by moneybags and corrupt politicians is worth whatever sacrifices by the ordinary citizens, who bear the brunt of bad governance the most.

“Secondly, information available in public domain shows how several millions, if not billions, of naira notes got mutilated and became of no use where the country’s thieving leaders stashed the cash, thereby denying the economy, especially the banks the liquidity for productive enterprise.

“Poor fiscal policies in the country over the years are as a result of having the wrong persons in public offices due to electoral process that abhors level playing ground.”

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