The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the new cash withdrawal limits policy was approved without political consideration.
This is according to the apex bank’s Deputy Governor (Financial Systems Stability) Aisha Ahmed who spoke during an interaction with the House of Representatives in Abuja on Thursday.
While responding to a question on why the move is coming a few months before the general elections, she explained that the CBN is an independent body that takes well-thought-out decisions.
The CBN chief, who was representing the apex bank’s governor Godwin Emefiele, also said that 94 percent of all cash transactions in the country fall within the initial N100,000 while 82 percent of corporate transactions are below the N5 million threshold.
The new policy will limit costs associated with processing and moving cash as well as address terrorism financing, she added.
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Bowing To Pressure?
Her comment came weeks after the CBN pegged the weekly over-the-counter (OTC) cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities at N100,000 and N500,000, respectively.
It also put the maximum daily withdrawals via ATMs and Point of Sale (PoS) terminals at N20,000 and said only denominations of N200 and below would be loaded into the ATMs.
The move triggered a wave of backlash from Nigerians with the National Assembly faulting the policy. PoS operators also questioned the bank’s decision, arguing that it would affect their business just as politicians claimed it was targeted at them.
But on Wednesday, the CBN raised the limits, bowing to pressure.
“The maximum weekly limit for cash withdrawal across all channels by individuals and corporate organisations shall be N500,000.00 and N5,000,000.00 respectively,” the CBN said in a circular by its Director of Banking Supervision Haruna Mustafa.
The directive is effective from January 9, 2023, the apex bank added.