Nigerian Senator have resolved to grill two deputy governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the cash withdrawal limit policy unveiled by the apex bank on Tuesday.
The red chamber planned to seek clarifications on Friday on the new directive which restricts over-the-counter (OTC) cash withdrawal by individuals and organisations to N100,000 and N500,000, respectively, per week.
The policy also limits cash withdrawals using the point-of-sale (PoS) machines and automated teller machines (ATM) to N20,000 daily and N100,000 weekly, respectively.
According to a memo signed Tuesday by the CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Haruna Mustafa, withdrawals above the thresholds would attract processing fees of five per cent and 10 percent, respectively, for individuals and corporate entities going forward.
In addition, third-party cheques above N50,000 shall not be eligible for OTC payment while extant limits of N10m on clearing cheques still remain.
The circular also directed banks to load only N200 and lower denominations into their ATMs and restricted withdrawal to N20, 000 per day from ATMs.
The policy which will become effective on January 9, 2023, had generated criticisms but the CBN clarified on Wednesday that PoS operators could apply for waivers.
Deliberating on the policy on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, Senators said there was a need to debate the policy on the floor of the red chamber.
However, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, directed the Senate Committee on Banking to grill the two re-appointed deputy governors of the CBN, Aisha Ahmad, and Edward Adamu, who will be screened on Friday, on the new cash withdrawal policy.
To this end, a resolution on the new CBN policy was moved by Senator Philip Aduda (PDP FCT).
Aduda had sought to rally other senators to deliberate on the policy but the Senate President, Lawan, interrupted him, saying it was too early to debate the circular.
Also, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue North-East) supporting his colleague and pushed that the motion should be allowed to fly considering the innocent Nigerians that would be affected by the CBN policy.
Addressing Lawan, he said, “I think you should have allowed us to discuss this motion for the sake of Nigerians.”
But Lawan, who appeared not to favour the move, stopped Aduda and Suswam, saying, “No, distinguished, there is a misunderstanding here. I told you what my personal opinion is. My personal opinion is that this weekend is off.
“Maybe but we have an opportunity; the Committee on Banking will be screening two deputy governors of the CBN. This is one major issue they should raise with them.
“As good as the cashless policy may be, it shouldn’t be jumped at, at once. The way the CBN is going about the policy, many Nigerians would be cut off and that won’t be accepted.
“Motion on the policy will be thoroughly debated in the Senate on Tuesday next week after adequate information has been gotten on it.”
Lawan noted that the newly re-appointed deputy CBN governors would be screened between Thursday and Monday so that by Tuesday, they would have been equipped with enough information to raise a motion in support or shoot down the policy.
He said, “Before Tuesday next week, our committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions mandated to screen the re – appointed deputy governors of the Central Bank should focus its questions on the planned policy.
“The CBN deputy governors must be thoroughly grilled on the policy after which extensive debate on it will be made by Senators on Tuesday next week.”