Nigerians have continued to express their feelings over the latest central bank limiting over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities to not exceed N100,000 and N500,000 respectively, per week.
While some have taken to social media to lament, others are still pondering over the potential impact of the policy on their livelihood.
The central bank claims the policy is aimed at driving financial inclusion in the country while also lowering the cost of handling cash. It is also part of a broader strategy of leveraging technology to manage money supply in the country.
Yet, the decision of the central bank has wide-ranging implications for micro, small and medium-scale businesses across the country. For some of the people we spoke to directly, the policy has little to no effect on their business as their turnover is too small to require any digital footprint.
Money hawkers don’t like it: Nairametrics went further to interview some of the people that sell money at the parties.
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Shade Opeoluwa explained to Nairametrics that her business would suffer with the recent development. She, however, noted that this may not really be an issue for people in her line of business because for many, it is an alternative source of income.
- “For someone like me or even the majority of those into this kind of business, the business is an alternative source of income which we do most during the weekend. No matter what the CBN is bringing, we will adapt. We have always adapted in Nigeria. This time shouldn’t be an issue.”
She however hoped that whatever happens, the policy still allows her to continue the business as it is a source of alternative income for her.
Aminat Raza, another Naira hawker also shared her view, expressing a sense of helplessness over a policy she cannot control.
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- “Whatever the policy is, we have no choice but to accept. There is nothing we can do. But I am just really hoping that whatever decision those up there make, they are considerate of us the masses because, in the end, the masses suffer most. They shouldn’t add to the suffering already ongoing.”
Those against the policy – John Ndubuisi, a Point of Sales agent living in Alaba market, Lagos says he earns as much as N7,000 daily in charges to customers who are in the market to buy items.
- When the new policy starts to roll out, Ndubuisi thinks that this may wreck his business as he may not be able to get as much as he does now.
- He explained that the N100,000 limit isn’t feasible for someone like him. He said, “Asking someone like me to work N100,000 daily is almost impossible. I perform up to millions of transactions in just in one day, so how do they expect someone like me to survive?”
He thus believes that the policy would not work and something will be done about it real soon as those at the upper echelon who would likely be most affected would not allow it to work.
- Just last Friday, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Aisha Ahmad defended the policy at a Senate committee hearing. Lawmakers had earlier in the week kicked against the policy.
Ndubisi also believes implementing such a policy without special consideration for the POS agent would make more Nigerian youth jobsless. He also blamed the CBN for coming up with a policy as critical as that without indulging people before now. Ndubuisi is not the only one who has hopes that the policy would soon be reversed.
Opeyemi Peters, another POS operator believes that the policy, coming at this time may not be favorable to Nigerians generally.
However, in his view, he agrees that the policy may in turn favor POS operators especially those that went through the appropriate licensing process.
- “Don’t forget that the policy didn’t say it is impossible to collect more than N100,000. The regulator only said anything above that would attract additional fees of 5-10%. So for POS operators, I believe they may even make more money from it. If I was getting some millions of naira from the bank at additional cost, definitely you would expect that this would be passed down to customers.” I explained.
On the fence: However, Esther Omowumi is ready to accept whatever the CBN brings on even though she perceives that this may hurt businesses.
- Apart from running the POS business, she is also into fashion designing to support the business so, for her, she would always survive whatever they are bringing.
The policy effect is negligible: Rashidat Owoduni, a market woman who sells pepper in Boundary, Ajegunle market told Nairametrics she does not believe the new policy would affect her much as there would always be alternatives.
Because of the need to always sell fresh goods, Rashidat constantly parades the market – she visits every day during rush hours and sometimes for two to three days – as such she thinks she doesn’t need plenty of cash at a time.
- “If the minimum withdrawal is N100,000 over the counter daily and N20,000 from ATMs, I don’t see how that affects me because I don’t often patronize the bank. Whatever money I have in the bank is not meant for immediate spending. I only keep them for rainy days. For me, I buy goods almost every day and so the money from the previous day can be used to do that. Even if I have to withdraw, I don’t think I will go beyond the limit.” she says
Similar to Owoduni’s comments, Lolade Owo who sells shoes in the same market also believes that the policy would not really affect her.
- She said, “Any policy that will stress me would rather be avoided. If going above N100,000 in the bank means paying an extra sum, then I would rather gather my money at home, and go to the market to buy goods when I have enough. I can’t imagine having to pay extra cash just to collect my own money.”
Tochukwo Uzo who sells carpets thinks otherwise. For him, he regarded the policy as one in the right direction to encourage a cashless policy however, he stressed that the CBN would need to ensure that issues relating to delay in receiving alerts, fraud, and other needs to be resolved to encourage everyone.
- The level of cyber fraud in the country has increased in recent years especially as banks continue to expand their e-payment channels.
What the Central Bank is Saying: Meanwhile, the governor of the central bank, Godwin Emefiele while responding to the National Assembly’s rebuttal of the policy, recently said the withdrawal limits were not cast in stone but would be reviewed upwards with time as the regulator did not wish to make life difficult for Nigerians but only sought to better the economy.
- “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 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. ”