The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), yesterday, suspended the implementation of the cash-less policy nationwide.
In a circular signed by Dipo Fatokun, Director, Banking and Payments System Department of CBN,, the apex bank instructed banks to revert to old charges and refund customers who had been debited.
CBN had earlier announced new charges on deposit and withdrawals above a threshold of N500,000 for individuals and N3 million for corporate.
The apex bank had directed banks to charge 1.5 percent and 2 percent for deposits and withdrawals ranging from N500,000 and N1 million in the individual category; 2 percent and 3 percent for amount above N1 million to N5 million; and 3 percent and 7.5 percent for amount above N5 million.
For corporate, CBN fixed 2 percent and 5 percent for deposit and withdrawals between N3 million and N10 million respectively; 3 percent and 7.5 percent for above N10 million to N40 million; and 5 percent and 10 percent for amount above N40 million.
But the new circular said the existing policy before the announcement of the new policy shall remain in place in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Rivers and Abuja. It stated: “You will recall that a directive was issued on the nationwide implementation of the cashless policy vide our circulars with reference numbers BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/04/001 dated February 21 and BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/04/002 dated March 16. Please note that the new withdrawal and deposit processing fee charges above the threshold, as contained in the circulars referenced above, are hereby suspended until further notice. The position of the policy shall now revert to the status quo ante. The new charges already applied effective April 1, 2017 as contained in the circulars in reference above should be reversed and the old charges be applied. All necessary refunds should be made accordingly.”
The circular further stated that the old charges to be reverted to are: 3 percent processing fee for withdrawals above N500,000 in the individual category and 5 percent for withdrawals above N3 million for corporate category, while no fees are charged for lodgments.
Meanwhile, the apex bank also announced the opening of a special foreign exchange (forex) window for investors and exporters in a continued bid to deepen the forex market and accommodate all forex obligations.
This was contained in a circular signed by Dr. Alvan Ikoku, Director, Financial Markets Department, CBN, titled: ‘Establishment of Investors’ and Exporters’ FX Window’, with Reference number FMD/DIR/CIR/GEN/08/007 addressed to all authorised dealers.
“The purpose of this window is to boost liquidity in the FX market and ensure timely execution and settlement for eligible transactions,” the circular stated.
Transactions eligible to access the window include: Invisible transactions (excluding International Airlines Ticket sales’ remittances) – Loan repayments, loan interest payments, dividends/income remittances, capital repatriation, management services fees, cosulatncy fees, etc; Bills for collection and; Any other trade-related payment obligations (at the instance of the customer).
The circular further stated: “The supply of foreign currency to the window shall be through portfolio investors, exporters, authorised dealers and other parties with foreign currency to exchange to Naira. The CBN shall also be a market participant at this window to promote liquidity and professional market conduct.”