The House of Representatives has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the newly introduced policy, which allows bank customers to be charged for cash deposits. The lawmakers want the suspension to remain until the Central Bank had consulted relevant stakeholders in the banking sector.

In a motion moved by the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, and unanimously adopted by the federal parliament,the lawmakers resolved to mandate the House Committee on Banking and Currency to interface with the CBN to “ascertain the propriety, relevance and the actual need for the implementation of that aspect of the cashless policy at this time, considering the prevailing economic situation of the country and to report back to the House within four weeks.”

Adopting the motion, the lawmakers resolved to urge the CBN to “suspend the implementation of the cashless policy on deposits which has taken effect from Wednesday, 18th September 2019, until the appropriate and extensive consultative process is concluded.”

Why the lawmakers want the new policy suspended: According to Kalu, the policy is an overbearing burden that could lead to the closing down of the majority of micro, small and medium businesses in the country.

Kalu, in his motion, also claimed that the policy was aimed at enriching the money deposit banks owned by a privileged few, without any known financial contribution to the consolidated revenue fund of the federation. 

The lawmaker particularly accused the CBN of not considering the citizenry as the centrepiece of its policy-making, even as Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered) provides for the security and welfare of the people as the primary purpose of government.

The charges: The CBN had disclosed its intention to charge bank customers making cash deposits and withdrawals from Thursday, September 19, 2019. The charges, according to the Central Bank, would attract 3% processing fees for withdrawals and 2% processing fees for lodgments of amounts above N500,000 for individual accounts.

CBN also made known that for corporate accounts, the Deposits Money Banks (DMBs) would charge 5% processing fees for withdrawals and 3% processing fee for lodgments of amounts above N3,000,000.