Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first African-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet.
By Adewale Adeoye, a contributor to USAfricaonline.com. This commentary has been edited for publication, exclusively, on the platforms of USAfrica.
Nigeria’s Central Bank says you can’t take more than 20,000 Naira out of your own money from the bank, in one day.
Corporate groups that want to buy any equipment urgently won’t be able to do so if they need up to 500,000 Naira cash to do so. The other problem is that if there are Internet hitches, they have to wait….
I’m for a cashless society, but the right conditions must be put in place, first.
In Nigeria, we seem not to conduct effective surveys before coming up with policies that have good motives but poor implementation processes.
The new CBN rule is one such good policy but put in place without clearing the landmines and may end up being counter-productive.
How much cash can you withdraw in the US for instance? You can withdraw cash up to $5,000 from a Capital One account. The amount limits depend on your bank and the type of account.
In UK, you can withdraw between 300 to 1000 pounds. So in reality, no society is 100 per cent cashless. But in Nigeria, there is the arrogance of ignorance by some of our leaders.
CBN is giving us less than 3 months for something we are less prepared for. They claim they want every Nigerian to be Internet compliant — when more than half of Nigerians have no access to the Internet and less than 30 per cent of Nigerians have bank accounts in the first place. The CBN wants a child of three weeks to start running on his feet. They want to kill the child.
The banks are keeping our money, trading with our money, and making a profit but are telling us there is a limit to which we can use the money we have laboured for.
According to an AP report “The Central Bank limited weekly over-the-counter cash withdrawals to 100,000 naira ($225) for individuals and 500,000 naira ($1,124) for corporations, with a processing fee required to access more. When the policy takes effect in Jan. 9, ATMs will no longer dispense Nigeria’s high denominations of 1,000 naira ($2.25) and 500 naira ($1.10) while withdrawals from ATMs and point-of-sale terminals also will be limited to 20,000 naira ($45) daily.
“In compelling circumstances, not exceeding once a month, where cash withdrawals above the prescribed limits are required for legitimate purposes, such cash withdrawals shall not exceed 5,000,000 naira ($11,236) and 10,000,000 naira ($22,471) for individuals and corporations, respectively,” said Haruna Mustafa, the bank’s director of banking supervision.
The Banks are an extension of the ruling class. When the political class is sick, the banking sector will also be ill.
CBN is saying children of a mother cannot feed on their mother’s breast more than once a week, yet CBN has made provision for neither akamu nor cow milk. Imagine if you are asked to make a deposit of 50k for an emergency operation in a hospital, while on the sick bed, you need to give 20k to someone to buy you medicine from a pharmacy and the person needs to transport himself in a taxi driven by someone without POS.
Even if you take your own car and you want to buy fuel on the way to safe someone’s life, the petrol attendant says the network is bad, you get to the chemist, the network is bad and you can’t transfer money or you transfer the money but the Pharmacist
did not receive the alert. He then says you can’t take the medicine.
This is not to talk of travelling a long distance and on the highway, your fuel got exhausted.
The next petrol station has a faulty POS on a highway infested with kidnappers.
Now, how do we buy cow of 150k from a Fulani man in the bush that has nothing to do with POS?
There is a religious dimension, too.
How do you pay your tithe in your church and you wish to pay 50k on a Sunday?
How do you give funds to poor people in your Mosques or Churches who have come to you for urgent help? These poor folks need about 10k but they have no bank accounts.
Sometimes you even want to support your Church or Mosque without showing your name, a privacy that is legitimate.
For traditional religion followers, how do you pay your Babalawo in the remotest villages who need 20k from you to make sacrifices?
How do you pay farmers in the villages and down the valleys who live on farms and have no need for banks?
CBN is forcing Nigerians to use banks but most Nigerians detest the banks that offer no benefit to them. They keep your money only to take COT.
No matter what the CBN does, some people won’t keep money in banks for many reasons: The banks are infested with crooks; online rogues have partners in the banks.
Through online transactions, Many Nigerians have lost funds to criminals working in banks and they never get their funds back.
Most Nigerians see the banks as high-risk vendors. They see the banks as collaborators in crime. Many Nigerians hate their banks.
Yet, interest on savings is about 1.5 per cent. It means it does not make any sense to save money in Nigerian banks.
Dividends on Treasury bills have collapsed from 20% 10 years ago to less than 2%. It means in one year, you can only make 2% on investments but the COT deducted from your banks will almost eliminate the 2% gain.
Nigeria is like a car whose engine has been destroyed by reckless drivers.
The irresponsible drivers are now looking for excuses. They are now asking passengers to sell pints of their blood to fix the car engine yet the mechanic expected to fix the engine is in a state of drunken stupor.
Corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigeria. The country is almost empty. Operators of the system are confused. They don’t know what to do.
This policy of the CBN does not make sense.
The CBN is chasing shadows, leaving the substance.
SMSE will suffer with this policy. More people will use the banks but the banks and their Internet fraudsters will be robbing many Nigerians.
I hope what is happening in Lebanon won’t happen in Nigeria. The people in Beirut can’t receive their own money kept in banks. If they ask for 50k, the banks will give them 5k.
They have resorted to physically robbing the banks or at gunpoint to retrieve their own money lodged in those banks which they refuse to give to them.
That the policy will check armed robbers is not true. The real robbers are those in those banks, in those political camps, stealing public funds in billions.
That it will stop kidnapping is also false. It only means victims of kidnapping must be prepared for more account owners to collect 20k in large numbers to be given to the kidnappers.
The heart of the elite has no place for the masses. They design policies without thinking of the poorest.
There is a way out: lawyers such as Femi Falana should come to our aid. They should sue the banks and reverse this ugly, savage and tyrannical policy.