By Elizabeth Adegbesan & Providence Ayanfeoluwa

Mobile money operators and the organised banks’ customers have expressed their opposition to the new Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, regulations on withdrawals, saying the Bank wants to send them out of business.

The apex bank had restricted cash withdrawals from over-the-counter, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to N100,000 and N500,000 per week for individuals and corporate organisations, respectively.

CBN disclosed this, yesterday, in a circular to all deposit money banks (DMBs) and other financial institutions (OFIs).

Read Also: CBN limits cash withdrawals to N100,000 weekly

It was signed by the Director, Banking Supervision Department of CBN, Mr. Haruna Mustafa.

It added that daily withdrawal from ATMs will now be N20,000 subject to N100,000 per week.

The CBN also directed DMBs and OFIs to load only N200 and lower denominations into their ATMs.

AMMBAN kicks against policy

However, the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN) has kicked against the CBN’s cash dispensing policy, sayin it will not fly, and protested that it will dampen business for mobile banking agents.

Commenting on the new policy, President of AMMBAN, Mr. Olojo Victor, said: “They want to send us out of business.

“We are against this. It is counter-productive. It does not represent what the CBN initially stood for in terms of financial inclusion. This is not driving us forward.

“It is a punishment for an average Nigerian. A bag of rice is N48,000. That means if I want to go to the market I can’t take cash. How will I do the transaction?

“We don’t have the technological infrastructure to support this policy. Nigerians have not been sensitized.

“There is no alternative and you are taking out cash. You are running a cash-dominant economy as we speak.

“Cash still remains king whether we like it or not. Go to the average market we still have more cash transactions than PoS and suddenly you want to seal cash without bringing alternatives and education and sensitizing Nigerians on how the alternatives work.

“This will not fly. It is not suitable. It is a good idea but not at the right time.”

Good but implementation is difficult – BCAN

But the President, Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, BCAN, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, commended the CBN on the policy.

He, however, noted that such policy cannot function in a country where most of its citizens are market women who cannot make use of electronic payment channels.

“What they are telling us is that we should use online banking more than we use cash. They are not stopping us from using the money in our accounts.

“What they are saying is that we should focus more on using electronic payments to do more of the transactions.

“But given the level of our people and even the use of mobile applications for banking transactions, it might be a big challenge.

“Like I was telling somebody earlier today, if I want to buy vegetables in the market, how do I transact that business without cash. It will be very difficult.

“We don’t expect that we will be carrying phones to transfer money to market women.

“There are areas you can apply electronic banking and there are areas you cannot apply it.”

Ogubunka also said that the banking sector does not have adequate infrastructure in place to back up the CBN’s policy and that such policy will dampen business this festive season.

He further warned against the possibility of rise in fraud through electronic payment channels and increase in failed bank transactions.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.