The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed deposit money banks (DMBs), microfinance banks (MFBs) as well as primary mortgage institutions (PMI) to refund to their customers, charges applied for withdrawals above the stipulated threshold under the cashless policy in the remaining 30 states since 1st July 2015.
The CBN gave the directive in a circular titled: “Re: Nationwide Rollout of Cashless Policy to the Remaining 30 States,” obtained at the weekend. The letter addressed to DMBs, MFBs and PMIs, was signed by the Director, Banking and Payment System Department, CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun.
The cashless policy is an initiative of the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee aimed at reducing the amount of cash in the system. It was extended to 30 more states in the country last year. The policy, which commenced in Lagos state in 2012 was last year extended to Abia, Anambra, Ogun, Kano, Rivers States and the FCT. However, just like it did in the pilot state, the central bank had announced the deferment of charges for individuals and corporate account holders who wish to withdraw cash above the prescribed limits in the 30 states.
The charges on withdrawals for both individual and corporate account holders was expected to take effect in the remaining 30 States from July 1, 2015.
The waiver was to allow ample time for the deployment of adequate infrastructure needed to support the policy.
However, the central bank in the latest circular stated: “Please refer to our circular dated June 9, 2014, reference BPS/PSP/DIR/CIR/VOL.1/008 on the above. It has come to our notice that some banks have started applying charges on withdrawals above the threshold, in the remaining 30 states of the federation.
“The central bank hereby directs that charges in these 30 states be put on hold, until further directive is received from the Bank. In the light of the above, charges inadvertently applied by banks on the customers’ accounts in the remaining 30 states, with effect from 1st July, 2015, should be reversed immediately.”