The House of Representatives on Thursday asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately suspend its latest policy on revised cash withdrawal limits.
The House also invited the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to appear before lawmakers on Thursday, next week, to answer questions on the series of policies the apex bank had churned out lately.
The House resolution, which was taken during plenary presided over by the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, directed that the cash policy should be suspended pending the outcome of Emefiele’s appearance before lawmakers.
The new cash policy puts total over-the-counter (OTC) withdrawals per week for individuals at N100,000 and N500,000 for corporate organisations.
However, withdrawals above the limits attract a 5% processing fee for individuals and a 10% fee for organisations.
The policy also pegs third-party cheque payment over the counter at N50,000, the maximum Automated Teller Machine (ATM)/Point of Sale (PoS) daily withdrawal at N20,000 and total weekly withdrawal at N100,000.
In addition, banks shall only load denominations of N200 and below into their ATMs.
The policy further provides that it’s only in “compelling circumstances” for “legitimate purposes” that individuals can withdraw up to N5 million and N10m for corporate organisations “once a month.”
But, on Thursday, following a motion on urgent national importance moved by Rep. Aliyu Magaji, most lawmakers kicked against the policy saying it was too harsh and sudden for Nigerians, especially the poor majority residing in the rural areas.
They argued that the majority of small businesses would go under, while inflation might worsen in the long run, altogether defeating any gains expected from the policy.
However, House Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, vehemently opposed the motion, describing the CBN’s policy as the best step taken so far to tackle banditry, kidnapping, and other crimes that involved the payment of ransoms in cash.
A majority voice vote eventually passed the resolution, asking the CBN to suspend the policy and inviting Emefiele to appear before members on the floor on Thursday, next week.