More than 20 money deposit banks on Monday began rolling out the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new cash withdrawal limit policy across the country and the bank’s customers expressed anger over the new rule.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele on December 21, 2022 bowed to pressure and revised the bank’s previous cash withdrawal limits.
The CBN revised upwards the maximum weekly cash withdrawal limit on all channels by individuals and corporate organizations to N500,000 and N5m respectively.
The CBN attributed the development to feedback it received from interested parties.
For transactions above the withdrawal limits, financial institutions are required to obtain customer details and upload them to the CBN portal created for this purpose.
In the previous circular which it issued on 6 December 2022, the CBN had said that from 9 January 2023, the maximum limit of over-the-counter cash withdrawal by individuals and corporate organizations per week would be N100,000 and N500. . 000 respectively, adding that withdrawals above these limits would attract processing fees of five percent and 10 percent respectively.
It further stated that the maximum cash withdrawal per week via ATMs from 9 January would be N100,000 subject to a maximum cash withdrawal of N20,000 per day.
The main bank also ordered banks to charge only N200 and lower denominations at their ATMs.
Following the previous directive, many stakeholders objected. The Nigerian Banking and Mobile Money Agents Association said point-of-sale operators would protest as the policy was aimed at ending their livelihood.
However, the revised cash limits, which took effect on Monday, faced strong opposition from bank customers who accused the central bank of being insensitive to the plight of cash-based businesses.
Clients call CBN
A customer of the bank, identified as Sola Adewale, who spoke to our correspondent in Mowe, Ogun State, said: “Personally, I think putting a limit on how people have to spend the money they worked for is crazy. The weekly withdrawal limit of N500,000 may be too much for some people, while it is too small for others. This affects some businesses that need a lot of cash.
He added: “Putting a cap on out-of-pocket spending will in no way reform Nigeria because people who spend lavishly will still have access to the amount of money they need. So, at the end of the day, it’s the common man who will suffer the most.”
Another bank client, Grace Chukwu, speaking in Ogba, Lagos, said: “I am an entrepreneur with three companies. I use First Bank, FCMB, Zenith Bank and Sterling Bank. I will take this opportunity to applaud the service I receive from First Bank, Sterling Bank and other banks. It doesn’t really bother me because I hardly do cash transactions, I do bank transfers most of the time.
“But I can understand how this new policy will affect other organizations and individuals who do not yet trust the online banking options available in our rural and urban communities and need to move funds above the allowed amount through online banking. I myself have been a victim several times. So I don’t blame them. And let’s face it, cash is still king. I feel like they should review it.”
In addition, another bank customer, identified as Maduabuchi Mercy, who spoke to the punch in Garki, Abuja, he said: “I don’t have much to say. This will surely limit people and companies from their daily activities. This doesn’t really show that we’re making progress. People earn their money on their own, and regulating how we spend our hard-earned money is a complete turnoff.
“Imagine that I have a transaction over the stipulated limits, so I will have to spend up to a month to complete a particular transaction. How long will it take me to make five to 10 transactions as an individual let alone as a business owner?
Several other customers across the country again challenged CBN’s latest policy.
One customer, Solomon Onyebuchi, in Abeokuta, said: “This is complete nonsense and unacceptable. What is the essence of this policy for the economy? They just want us to suffer while the rich don’t have a problem.”
Another client, Dupe Adegbenga, an SME operator, while reacting, said: “How do banks expect companies to operate? SMEs will suffer. I’m suffering.”
Meanwhile, banks located in Garki, Area Two, observed CBN’s withdrawal policy through their ATMs.
Our correspondent’s findings showed that Zenith Bank, Keystone Bank, Ecobank and Access Bank applied the policy.
However, one of our correspondents observed that customers who used their debit cards at the same bank’s ATMs were able to withdraw higher amounts.
When our correspondent visited Access Bank, customers were seen making deposits of old notes while new notes were sparingly dispensed through the ATM.
At Ecobank, an official speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “You can only withdraw N100,000 per day over the counter according to CBN policy. If you want more, you would have to go through the necessary process.
“However, I advise you to use other methods to transfer if you need more money. The main goal is to ensure that a proper audit can be done and that no one takes our money out of the country.
In reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, Olusegun Elegbede, said the implementation of the policy was being watched, adding that the effect would be seen by the end of the week.
He said: “Well, it’s still early to draw any conclusions about it. We probably won’t be able to appreciate the effects until later this week.”
the punch visited Ecobank, Zenith Bank and First Bank located in the Jabi area of the Federal Capital Territory.
At Ecobank Jabi, an employee told one of our correspondents that the bank had started implementing the new withdrawal limit.
The Ecobank worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, “The policy has been implemented. For this location, I have not seen anyone withdraw more than the limit. I know some customers don’t know it yet or just haven’t realized it.”
Additionally, the findings showed that several point-of-sale operators were unaware of the new policy.
In reaction, the president of the National Union of Bank, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees, Abakpa Anthony, said: “We can’t really comment on that for now as the normal transaction is still ongoing.
The findings showed Monday that several ATMs did not dispense the new bills.
At the Ecobank on Via Ogunnusi, a Berger Bus stop, our correspondent reported that three galleries of bank ATMs were dispensing old bills at that time. the punch I visited the bank around 3 pm
Similarly, all two Union Bank ATMs just a few meters from Ogunnusi road were dispensing old bills at the time. the punch visited the bank.