…gives conditions for bulk withdrawal
Claims that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is specifically targeting Point-of-Sale (PoS) agents with its new policy restricting cash withdrawals have been refuted.
Although the apex bank established the weekly withdrawal limits for individuals and organizations at N100,000 and N500,000, respectively, on December 6, it allowed for compelling instances to withdraw up to N5 million or N10 million.
“Let me just correct an impression: not in any way are they (PoS agents) endangered,” the CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Mustafa Haruna, said during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise on Saturday.
“When you do the numbers, how much does a typical agent outlet need in a day? People need to just see this as a policy that is intended at contributing to economic growth and development, and when Nigerians know the enormous benefits inherent in this policy, I’m very sure it will shift mindsets.
“It is typical when you introduce something new, there is always that trepidation and apprehension. But that is why we are also combining it with extensive and sustained campaigns and sensitisation just to ensure that Nigerians understand what is at play, what is involved, and what is in it for them.”
Haruna highlighted the apex bank’s December 6 circular, which noted that there are requirements to meet if a person or organization needs money above the allotted amount due to compelling circumstances.
The CBN had indicated that in such cases, not more than thrice a month, withdrawals beyond the limit would also be subject to processing costs of 5% for individuals and 10% for corporations, respectively to
“enhanced due diligence and further information requirements.”
Applicants are also required to upload the following on the CBN’s portal: Valid means of identification of the payee (National ID, International Passport, Driver’s License); Bank Verification Number (BVN) of the payee; and notarised customer declaration of the purpose for the cash withdrawal; senior management approval for the withdrawal by the Managing Director of the drawee, where applicable; and approval in writing by the MD/CEO of the bank authorising the withdrawal.
Haruna explained that the CBN had seen exponential growth in the agent networks around Nigeria, describing them as “quite ubiquitous.”
“There is hardly any nuke or cranny in Nigeria where you go that you won’t see one agent outlet or the other where they do cash-in, cash-out services. Such customers can take advantage of those services,” the CBN director said.
“But to the point about the quantum of naira such a customer would need, of course, this is an evolutionary process; we will get there. And if you have such a need for a high volume of cash, you can always go to your bank to say, ‘Look, this is my business,’ and they will be able to (attend to you).”
According to him, the CBN policy was about expanding the cashless policy first launched a decade ago as a pilot programme in major cities like Lagos and Abuja. He explained that scaling up the policy was necessary due to the high cost of currency management.
“We started since 2012 and we had some charges that you have to pay, although the revised limit and charges are different from what we had. This is not something new. We feel we should take things to a high level if we must make progress, in line with global trends,” he said.