The cashless policy, an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee aimed at reducing the amount of cash in the system will be extended to 30 more states in the country from today.
The policy which commenced in Lagos state in 2012 was last year extended to Abia, Anambra, Ogun, Kano, Rivers States and the FCT.
However, just like in the states where the policy had been implemented, the central bank last week announced the deferment of charges for individuals and corporate account holders who wish to withdraw cash above the prescribed limits in the 30 states.
The charges on withdrawals for both individual and corporate account holders will now take effect in the remaining 30 States from July 1, 2015.
The waiver is to allow ample time for the deployment of adequate infrastructure needed to support the policy.
Under the cashless policy, the CBN had pegged the daily cumulative cash withdrawal/deposit limit for individual accounts at N500,000 per day and N3 million per day for corporate accounts.
But while unveiling his agenda for the central bank, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele had abolished charges for cash lodgment.
Nevertheless, cash withdrawals above the limit for individual accounts attract a three per cent charge while corporate account holders are being charged five per cent.
Speaking on the policy, Executive Director, Lagos and South-west Directorate, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. IK Mbagwu urged bank customers in the 30 states to comply with the policy, saying banks have already provided alternative banking channels.
“When we first started, we said we were not ready, even from the pilot scheme in Lagos State, some said we were not ready then. But obviously, you have seen how far we have gone.
“It is not a 100 per cent success and even the nationwide rollout may not be 100 per cent success. But it is a journey that we must start and the only way to start is to enforce the policy. I think that is what the central bank is trying to do.
“However, the Point of Sale (PoS) machines are there, the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are there, internet banking is available and these are some of the major planks of the cashless policy. The banks are also ready for the policy,” he explained.
The Director, Banking and Payment System Department, CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun recently advised banks in the affected states to immediately commence the enlightenment of the customers on the policy, especially on the existing limits on cash withdrawals for individuals and corporate bodies, as well as the available e-payment options.
He also stressed the need for banks to ensure that their members of staff in the affected states are adequately trained on the policy, in order to provide answers to enquiries, give useful advice, handle issues and complaints on the policy.