THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had announced its decision to tinker with the weekly cash withdrawal limits of N100,000 and N500,000 for individuals and corporate bank customers, perhaps in response to calls from federal legislators especially to suspend the new cash policy.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday, after a meeting with the president, Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, told reporters that the apex bank would not be rigid on the policy since it was not designed to hurt citizens but to strengthen the economy.
Emefiele disclosed that the CBN has distributed the new N200, N500, and N1,000 notes to banks ahead of the December 15 date scheduled for circulation of the new notes.
The House of Representatives at a recent plenary had tasked Emefiele on the cash policy and called for its suspension pending the outcome of a meeting with the House on the compliance level of the policy with the CBN act and the 1999 constitution on the monetary policies.
However, in the face of condemnation of the policy by the lawmakers, the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu said the CBN policy will curb banditry and reduce the incidence of corruption.
Explaining the CBN’s position, Emefiele said the digitization and cashless policy was not targeted at anybody, as more nations were embracing the trend.
He said that the new policy of the apex bank was for the development of the nation’s economy.
According to the governor, ““We will be reviewing from time to time, how this is working because I cannot say that we are going to be rigid. But it is not to say that we will reverse it, it is not to say that we will change the timing, but whether it is about tweaking some amount to be a little bit higher or a little bit lower, and all the rest of them.
“We will do so because we are humans, we want to make sure that we are making life good for our people. We do not want to make life difficult for them.
“There is no need for anybody to worry. The CBN is monitoring what is happening and I can assure everyone that we are up and alive to our responsibilities and we will do what is right for Nigeria and Nigerians.”
He noted further that the apex bank had periodically briefed the lawmakers “about what is happening and about our policies and I’m aware that they have asked for some briefings and we will brief them.
“But I think it’s important for me to say that the cashless policy started in 2012. But on almost three to four occasions, we had to step down the policy because we felt that there was need for us to prepare ourselves and deepen our payment system infrastructure in Nigeria.
“Between 2012 and now 2022, that is almost about 10 years, we believe that a lot of electronic channels have been put in place that will aid people in conducting banking and financial service transactions in Nigeria.
“Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa, we need to leapfrog into the cashless economy. We cannot continue to allow a situation where over 85 per cent of the cash that is in circulation is outside the bank. More and more countries that are embracing digitization have gone cashless.
“It is meant for the good and development of the Nigerian economy and we can only continue to appeal to Nigerians to please see this policy the way we have presented it.