Players in the finance sector say they are unsure of the thinking behind the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to effect N50 per N1,000 transaction online.

In two circulars, which became effective on Tuesday and Wednesday, the apex bank placed levies on withdrawals and deposits into money deposit banks— a move experts acknowledge could enhance the cashless policy drive and mandate retailers to collect N50 for every N1,000 online transaction they carry out.

One expert said, “I’m not sure what the CBN and the government want to achieve.”

Founder of Cowry Assets Management LTD, Johnson Chukwu, told SaharaReportersthat the Godwin Emefiele-led CBN will need to harmonise its policies.

He said, “The Central Bank and the fiscal authorities have to harmonise their position on what they want to achieve.

“Do they (CBN and fiscal authorities) want to drive cashless policy or want to compel people to go back to cash transactions and avoid the banking system?”

Expressing similar sentiments, Pauline Ezeh, who retired as a bank branch manager, said the apex bank discouraged the same thing they were trying to encourage at the same time.

She said, “What they (CBN) were trying to do with the charge on withdrawal and cash lodgement is to discourage cash transactions.

“They went wrong by trying to discourage Point Of Sale transactions.”

Head of Research at United Capital, Wale Olusi, believes Nigerians were over-reacting to the new policy by the CBN.

He said, “On the withdrawal and deposits, I think the public is over reacting.

“The CBN had already issued a rejoinder explaining that the two per cent fee on withdrawal or the three per cent fee on deposits will be on the extra sum – N100 paid alongside the N500,000 and not the N500,000 itself.”

Supporting Olusi’s view is Yinka Ogunubi, an economist and finance expert.

Writing on finance-focused website, Proshare, Ogunubi said Nigerians were “good at majoring on the minor while avoiding totally the weightier matters”. 

Chukwu however, feels having both policies in operation hits filling stations and retail businesses with small profit margins on all sides.

He added, “There are businesses that have very low margins and what the CBN is doing is taking their capital not their profit.

“What do you expect the filling station owner to do? They will take away all the POS and tell the customers to pay with cash.”

He concluded that the policy will simply compel people to stick to cash transactions, which appears perplexing to him.

According to the first circular by the CBN, there will be three per cent processing fee for withdrawals and two per cent for lodgements of amounts above N500,000 for individual accounts.

Also, corporate accounts will attract five per cent processing fee for withdrawals and three per cent for lodgements of amounts above N3m.

The statement noted that the charge on deposits shall apply in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Rivers states including the Federal Capital Territory.

A country-wide implementation of the cashless policy would take effect from March 31, 2020.

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