CBN insists on nationwide cashless policy by April 1

CBN insists on nationwide cashless policy by April 1
Godwin Emefiele

Despite mobilizing several billions of Naira to attempt to supposedly cushion the effects of the present lockdown occasioned by the spread of Covid-19 the same CBN has directed all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to fully implement the cashless policy in Nigeria amidst the hardships already being caused by the lack of commercial activities.

With this directive, which was contained in a circular issued to the banks, the Central Bank of Nigeria approved the additional charges for cash deposits and withdrawals above 500,000 Naira for individual accounts and 3 million Naira for corporate accounts across the country.

Specifically, banking individuals across the country will now pay the two per cent (2%) processing fees when they deposit cash and three per cent (3%) processing fee when they withdraw cash from N500,000. Meanwhile for Corporate Account holders the same processing fee applies except that the cash limit is N3,000,000 from 1st of April.

The directive to DMBs to fully implement the cashless policy at this time is viewed by many as ill-timed and counter-productive. This is particularly as apex banks across the world are relaxing rules and regulations to ensure no much burden is further put on the people.

The banks have began to communicate this to their customers through emails and text messages as well advertising to alert them of the full implementation of the Cashless policy.

You will recall that the apex bank developed its cashless policy in 2012, which required a daily total limit of N500,000 and N3,000,000 on free cash withdrawals across all accounts owned by individual and corporate customers respectively.

The policy mandated that individuals and corporate organizations that made cash withdrawals above the limits would be charged a service fee for amounts above the specified cumulative limits.

The policy went further to place restrictions by stating that 3rd party cheques above N150,000 were not be eligible for payment over the counter with effect from March 30, 2012. As such, value for such cheques were only to be received through the clearing house.

In addition, banks were to discontinue cash in transit deposit services rendered to merchant-customers with effect from January 1, 2012.

However, this policy only affected certain states across the country, based on a pilot study in Lagos from January 2012 while the policy took effect in Rivers, Anambra, Abia, Kano, Ogun states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the 1st July, 2013.

But towards the end of last year, the CBN issued a circular to Deposit Money Banks which stated that charges would be applied on deposits made in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Rivers states and the FCT effective from September 18, 2019.

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