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Senate asks CBN to review threshold for withdraw limits

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The Senate on Wednesday asked the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN), to make upward adjustments of the proposed N100, 000 per week for individuals and N500, 000 per week for Corporate bodies in response to public outcry.

The Upper Chamber also directed its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, to embark on aggressive oversight of CBN on its commitment to flexible adjustment of the withdrawal limit and periodically report the outcome to the Senate.

The Red chamber, however, supported CBN in the continuous implementation of transformational payments and financial industry initiatives.

The Senate’s position followed the adoption of the resolutions of its committee report after a heated debate by Senators on the proposed policy.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Uba Sani ( APC Kaduna Central), had in the report argued that the planned Cash Withdrawal Limits, were well conceived by the CBN for the transformation of the Nation’s economy and that the action falls within the mandate of the Apex bank as provided for, in section 2(d) and 47 of its extant Act.

However, during the general debate on the report and recommendations later adopted as resolutions, many of the Senators kicked against the timing of the policy, warning that it may lead to a mass revolt in the rural areas across the country because the rural dwellers would be seriously affected by the policy.

In his submissions during the debate, Senator Ajibola Basiru ( APC Osun Central), said the proposed threshold of N100,000 and N500, 000 withdrawal per week for individuals and corporate bodies respectively, was unrealistic.

“Laws are made for people and not people made or created for law. If CBN is acting under sections 2(d) and 47 of its extant Act to make life difficult for Nigerians through a policy, as representatives of the people, we need to intervene.

“Such intervention from us is to make CBN realise that the proposed Cash withdrawal limits policy is unrealistic and very injurious and detrimental to the well-being of rural dwellers, many of whom are our constituents.

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“Report of this committee recommending the policy to us and by extension, to Nigerians through suggestion of flexibility in implementation, is vague, nebulous and means nothing “, he said.

Senator Adamu Aliero ( PDP Kebbi Central ), in his own contribution, said the picture painted by the committee in its report on the proposed CBN policy, is nothing but an ideal picture of what the economy should be, which is far cry from what the economy is, in reality as far as Nigeria is concerned.

“The proposed CBN policy does not capture the informal sector and is very detrimental to the livelihood of rural dwellers who are not into e-banking.

“Public outcry against the policy is too much, requiring serious caution as far as implementation is concerned because Nigeria’s economy is predominantly rural,” he said.

Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa ( PDP Bauchi North), in his contribution, warned that the proposed policy, if not suspended, may trigger revolt from rural dwellers.

He said recommendations made by the Senate Committee on Banking on the policy which were later adopted as resolutions, made no sense to him.

“Senate committee recommendations on the proposed CBN policy is nothing but trying to put wool in the eyes of Nigerians “, he said.

Even Senator Orji Uzor Kalu ( APC Abia North ) , who as a member of the Committee, signed the adopted report on the proposed policy, kicked against it in his contribution.

He said: N100, 000 per week for individuals and N500,000 per week for corporate bodies, are too small.

“The N500, 000 per day for individuals and N3million per day for corporate bodies being implemented in Abia, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, FCT etc, should be sustained across the country for now”.

Other Senators who kicked against the implementation of the policy as planned from January 9, 2023, were Biodun Olujimi ( PDP Ekiti South), Chukwuka Utazi ( PDP Enugu North ), Stella Oduah (PDP Anambra North ), Ibrahim Hassan Hadeija (APC Jigawa North East), etc.

Also, Senator Stella Oduah (Anambra North) described the policy as punitive and draconia which must be suspended in the interest of ordinary Nigerians.

But Senators Yusuf A Yusuf ( APC Taraba Central), Degi Eremienyo ( APC Bayelsa East ) Francis Alimikhena ( PDP Edo North), supported it in their separate contributions.


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