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Reps ask CBN to suspend new cash withdrawal limit
Business/Economy

Reps ask CBN to suspend new cash withdrawal limit 

The House of representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the limits on weekly cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities.

The lawmakers also summoned Godwin Emefiele, governor of te apex bank, to appear before it next Thursday over the new policy scheduled to take effect on January 9, 2023.

The resolution was passed at plenary, yesterday, following adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Aliyu Magaji.

In a memo issued on Tuesday by the Director of Banking Supervision, Haruna Mustafa, CBN directed all banks and other financial institutions to ensure that over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100,000 and N500, 000, respectively, per week. It also directed that only N200 and lower denominations should be loaded into banks’ ATMs.

The Senate had earlier faulted apex bank on the implications and timing of the policy, arguing that it might worsen the tight economic environment while stakeholders worried about the possibility of implementing hitch-free cash withdrawal limits in communities with ‘blind spots or poor network connectivity.’

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At plenary, yesterday, Aliyu, in his motion, said the policy would impact negatively on the country’s economy. He argued that this may further weaken the naira, as Nigerians may resort to the dollar and other currencies for their transactions to the detriment of the country’s economy.

While acknowledging that the CBN has the right to issue monetary policies to be able to guide and direct the economy to the right part of recovery and growth, he warned that the new policy would cripple small businesses.

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“Majority of the small business owners in Nigeria are the major drivers of the Nigeria’s economy, and who are majorly residents of rural area and carried on their business, trade and activities in the said rural business areas. These small business owners transacts their businesses, trade and transactions in physical cash and are in most cases not inclined to the use of electronic banking system as most of them are either illiterate, half educated or not learned at all.”

Chairman, House Committee on Higher Education, Aminu Suleiman, while urging the parliament to stop the new withdrawal, said: “More than 70 per cent of communites in this country do not have banking system, only few like Lagos, Rivers, Kano and probably Delta states might boast of about 70 per cent banking coverage. Yet, the CBN under the almighty Emiefele woke up and introduced this very heartless decision; this will completely eradicate all the successes we have gathered as a country in order to arrest restiveness and banditry.”

Similarly, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, said the decision was against commerce.

Regardless, the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, said the policy is a step in the right direction, as it will help to curb banditry and other crimes

Meanwhile, the Arewa Youth Consultative Movement and the Middle Belt Youth Forum have applauded President Muhammadu Buhari and Emefiele.

The youth groups said the new cash withdrawal limit is a death knell to those engaged in vote buying, money laundering and financial crimes, urging Nigerians to support the policy.

Chief Convener of the groups, Godwin Meliga, who spoke at a press briefing, in Abuja, said the policy was in the best interest of the country and was not intended to impoverish any part of the country.

Consequently, Meliga charged the National Assembly to resist any plot by anyone to use the legislature to truncate the new CBN policy on cash withdrawal limit.

However, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has reacted cautiously to the recent new policy, particularly on the ease and cost of doing business.

In a statement by the president, Dr Al-Mutjaba Abubakar, the chamber raised posers on the impact of the new policy on cost of doing business and ease of doing business in Nigeria.

“We have perused the policy guidelines and we first commend the CBN for constantly innovating to address the fiscal and monetary challenges facing the country.

“We note the intention of the apex bank, which is the urgent need to address growing inflationary pressure and stabilise the value of Naira.

“As commendable as this policy is, we are worried about the timing of the announcement that coincides with the ongoing plan to phase out old naira notes,” he said.

Abubakar said ACCI’s concerns stemmed from the disruption the new policy would have on many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in several big local markets.

He said the limitation on withdrawal will constrain business transactions, especially as most businessmen rely on such withdrawal for quick business engagement from one market to the other.

(Sun)

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