Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it would resist any political pressure to back down on its new policy on cash withdrawal limits, warning to sanction any individual or entity who violates the policy.
Any aiding and abating of this policy will be severely sanctioned and we are very resolute about this. We have the anti-money laundering, we have the terrorism prevention laws, Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act that codifies all the sanctions and penalties that will be imposed.
The Bank’s Director, Banking Supervision Department, Haruna Bala Mustafa and the Director, Payments System Management Department, Musa Itopa Jimo, said this when they featured on Arise TV programme on Thursday.
It was reported that the apex bank, in a memo on Tuesday, announced a limit on cash withdrawals made by individuals and organisations with effect from 9 January.
According to the CBN, an over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities will not exceed N100,000 and per week N500,000 respectively. It also directed that only N200 and lower denominations be loaded into banks’ ATMs.
It said the maximum cash withdrawal per week via ATM should be N100,000, subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day.
Since the policy was announced, some Nigerians including the Senate, have expressed concerns about the implication of the policy.
Raising a point of order on the issue during plenary on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader, Philip Aduda, cautioned the apex bank on the cash withdrawal limit, noting that it would affect the country’s economy.
Explaining its motivation on Thursday, the CBN said;
The bold policy will be a silver bullet to address issues addressing the Nigerian economy”, adding that the policy would activate the CBN into knowledge of accurate data on money supply, while enhancing monetary policy effectiveness.
We are apolitical. There is no (political) pressure from any quarters. This is in the ordinary discharge of our statutory responsibility and like I mentioned this is about Nigeria and enhancing the efficacy of our payment system.
There is no pressure on us. We want Nigerians to reason with us. This is all about them. In one or two years down the road we will look back and be happy that we took this decision. We need to make this sacrifice for the benefit of our country.
This bold policy will be a silver bullet to address issues addressing the Nigerian economy. It will interest you to know that a broad segment of our population will not be impacted negatively by this policy. Over 90 percent of Nigerians do transactions below N500,000 and also less than that do N100,000 and below.
There are no sacred cows. Any aiding and abating of this policy will be severely sanctioned and we are very resolute about this. We have the antimoney laundry, we have the terrorism prevention laws, Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act that codifies all the sanctions and penalties that will be imposed.
This is about Nigeria. The majority of Kenyans prefer cashless payment and why not Nigerians? We appeal for understanding. This is about the future of this country.
On his part, Jimo said Nigerians still have full access to their money, contrary to the outrage that the policy infringes on the right of Nigerians to access their money.
The CBN is not preventing you from taking your money. Your money is your money. If you go to a bank and you want to withdraw your money, you can withdraw it, but we only put a threshold and there are other options with which you can withdraw your money.
It is not only through cash that you can access your money. You can access your money in cash and in electronic form. A lot of Nigerians do electronic transactions. We started cashless policy since 2012. We used to have a regime where you practically beg a shop to get a POS or acce[pted payments. Today Business outlets are begging banks to come and deploy a POS terminal.