Point of Sales, PoS operators in Oyo state and nationwide are threatening to embark on a nationwide protest amid the imposition of new cash withdrawal limits on individuals and organisations, which will become effective on January 9, 2023, by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to a memo issued by the CBN to banks on Tuesday, individuals will only be able to withdraw N100,000 per week (from over-the-counter, point-of-sale machines or automated teller machines), while organisations can access N500,000 per week.
The memo signed by the CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Haruna Mustafa, directed banks to load only N200 and lower denominations into their ATMs. This means Nigerians can only withdraw N20,000 daily from ATMs when the directive becomes effective.
The memo read, “The maximum cash withdrawal over the counter by individuals and corporate organisations per week shall henceforth be N100,000 and N500,000, respectively. Withdrawals above these limits shall attract processing fees of 5 per and 10 per, respectively.
“Third-party cheques above N50,000 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while extant limits of N10,000,000 on clearing cheques still subsist.
“The maximum cash withdrawal per week via Automated Teller Machine shall be N100,000 subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day. Only denominations of N200 and below shall be loaded into the ATMs. The maximum cash withdrawal via the point of sale terminal shall be N20,000 daily.”
However, an exemption allows up to N5m for individuals and N10m for corporate organisations once a month with certain requirements.
Following the new directive, the National President of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents of Nigeria, Victor Olojo, has said that point-of-sale operators would plan to protest as the policy was targeted at killing their source of livelihood.
While speaking in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH, Olojo disclosed that the newly announced policy would have a negative impact on their business as it translated to the shutting down of PoS terminals.
He said, “This news is just breaking, and many PoS agents are already complaining bitterly. Some are calling for protests as this policy, which limits PoS transactions to N20,000, sends them out of business. Hence they have to return to their villages.”
Speaking on the impact of the new policy on individuals and the economy, the president said it would be tough as Nigeria was still a cash-dominant society.
He said, “Nigerians should brace up, as this is a challenge that CBN is putting out to Nigerians to embrace technology. However, the difficulty would be felt as we still have a lot of transactions done with cash, especially those that are below the pyramid, such as the market women and men who are petty traders, because this, in essence, means that once a bag of rice or flour is to be bought, which is above N20,000, it has to be via e-banking. Looking at it, how many of these people are technology-savvy?
“The CBN wants to achieve an agenda which is not exactly wrong. However, a longer notice should have been given to those at the bottom of the pyramid. I believe that, eventually, the adoption would scale, and people would have to get acquainted irrespective of the difficulty, embracing it in the long run.
“However, it is still very difficult because the technological infrastructure is still not there yet, and there are those who have had bad experiences with technology as well. The implication of this policy would slow down a lot and affect a lot of things, particularly those earning more than N20,000 daily.”
Also, a PoS operator, simply identified as Christian Onyema, said, “The new CBN policy will affect our business because pegging daily transaction limit to N20,000 is not helpful for us. For instance, a customer who wanted to transact business came to withdraw N500,000 today, I made my gains, and he was able to do his own business. This will no longer be possible by January, when the policy takes effect. The economy will suffer, and insecurity will rise too because some operators will definitely go out of jobs.”
Another operator who gave his name only as ‘Small’ said, “This will really affect PoS business, a situation where customers can’t withdraw more than N20,000 daily means those who withdraw more than that normally will be limited.”