THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele has said that the apex bank will not be rigid about the cash withdrawal limits of N100,000 and N500,000 for individuals and corporates, as it may tweak it as necessary since the intention is not to inflict pain on Nigerians but to strengthen the economy.
Emefiele disclosed this on Thursday in a chat with State House correspondents after he visited President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State.
He said the President “Was happy and said, we should carry on with our work, no need to fear, no need to bother about anybody.”
Speaking further on the withdrawal limit he said: “We will be reviewing from time to time, how this is working because I cannot say that we are going to be rigid. But it is not to say that we will reverse it, it is not to say that we will change the timing, but whether it is about tweaking some amount to be a little bit higher or a little bit lower, and all the rest of them.
“We will do so because we are humans, we want to make sure that we are making life good for our people. We do not want to make life difficult for them. So, there is no need for anybody to worry. The CBN is monitoring what is happening and I can assure everyone that we are up and alive to our responsibilities and we will do what is right for Nigeria and Nigerians.”
“There is no need for anybody to worry. The CBN is monitoring what is happening, and I am assuring everyone that we are alive to our responsibility and we will do what is right for Nigeria and Nigerians.”
On the pushback from the Senate, he said, “Well, the Senate is the National Assembly, they are the legislative arm of the government and from time to time, we brief them about what is happening and about our policies and I’m aware that they have asked for some briefings and we will brief them.
“But I think it’s important for me to say that the cashless policy started in 2012. But on almost three to four occasions, we had to step down the policy because we felt that there was need for us to prepare ourselves and deepen our payment system infrastructure in Nigeria.
“Between 2012 and now 2022, that is almost about 10 years, we believe that a lot of electronic channels have been put in place that will aid people in conducting banking and financial service transactions in Nigeria.
“We heard about people talk about some of the people in the rural areas and the truth is that even online banking, as I was coming out to Daura, I saw a kiosk that has super agent today. It’s because of the way we felt that there was a need for us to deepen the payment system infrastructure.
“We have 1.4 million super agents that are all over different parts of the country, all local governments, and all villages in this country.
“And I have told my colleagues, some of their names are already on the CBN website and we will publish all the names of all the super agents. And having super agents which is different from the banks which is different from microfinance banks, which is different from other financial institutions.
“Having 1.4 million of them is as good as having 1.4 million banking points where people can conduct services.
“We think, Nigeria as a big country, the biggest economy in Africa that we need to leapfrog into the cashless economy. We cannot continue to allow a situation where over 85 per cent of the cash that is in circulation is outside the bank. More and more countries that are embracing digitization have gone into cashless.
“I said it at different fora that this is not targeted at anybody, it’s just meant for the good and development of the Nigerian economy and we can only continue to appeal to Nigerians to please see this policy the way we have presented it.”
Speaking on the amount of the old notes the apex bank has been able to mop up from circulation, he said: “We have taken more than half a trillion and in the bank we also have close to have a trillion.
“But what we have done in the central bank is to move more people from different departments into currency processing so that they can process this cash as quickly as possible and from there, banks can now move what they have with them.”
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.