By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend implementation of the new cashless policy and charging transactions in banks.
The House also mandated the Committee on Banking and Currency to interface with CBN to ascertain the propriety, relevance and the actual need for the implementation of that aspect of the cashless policy “at this time considering the prevailing economic situation of the country.”
The resolution was taken at Thursday’s plenary after considering a motion brought to that effect by Hon. Benjamin Kalu from Abia State under matters of urgent public importance.
It will be recalled that CBN had informed Nigerians that some percentages would be charged at every deposit of N600,000 and above, as the same applies to some withdrawals.
The House said that all shades of stakeholders in the implementation of the policy were not consulted, saying it was a unilateral decision of the CBN.
According to the House, the programme which took effect from Wednesday 18 September, 2019 tabulated its charges as “3% processing fees for withdrawals and 2% per cent processing fees for lodgments of amounts above $600,000 for individual accounts; 5% processing fees for withdrawals and 3% per cent processing fee for lodgments of amounts above 443,000,000 for corporate accounts”.
It will be recalled that CBN had earmarked Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Rivers States as well as the Federal Capital Territory; FCT, as pilot grounds, saying that the total nationwide implementation of the cashless policy would take effect from March 31 2020.
The House in the motion believed that the implementation of the policy at this time will hurt Nigerians.
“Worried that the implementation of cashless policy in Nigeria so far has led to decrease in deposit mobilization and credit extension by Nigerian Money Deposit Banks;
“Deeply worried that the implementation of cashless policy on Withdrawals has negative impacts on micro, mini, small, and medium enterprises which are clearly the engine room for growth of the economy and employment generation, thereby throwing many of them out of business and sending more Nigerians into poverty, forcing more traders and micro investors to carry cash about with its attendant security challenges;
“Aggrieved that while the impact of the cashless policy on Withdrawals is still starring us all in our faces as well as other numerous burdensome charges by Nigerian Money Deposit Banks heavily impacting on businesses, the Central Bank of Nigeria deemed it necessary to impose the implementation of cashless policy on deposits without due consultations with all shades of stakeholders who will be impacted by the policy;
“Concerned that this overbearing burden aimed at closing down majority of micro, mini, small and medium businesses in Nigeria is also aimed at enriching Nigerian Money Deposit Banks owned by a privileged few, without any known financial contribution to the consolidated revenue fund of the federation:
“Deeply concerned that the Central Bank of Nigeria did not consider the people as the as prime, important and in deed the centre piece of policy-making, even as Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Altered) provides for the security and welfare of the people as the primary purpose of government”, the motion reads.
Adopting the motion, the House asked the committee to report back to the House within 4 weeks.