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ECONOMY: Nigerians grumble as banks commence cashless charges

                             
Nigerians have started taking measures to avoid paying the withdrawal and deposit cashless charges which takes effect from yesterday in Lagos and five other states. However, a  cross section of business owners who spoke to
Sunday Vanguard lamented that the cashless charges are unfavorable to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The cashless policy was introduced in  2012 to encourage the use of electronic payment channels like Point of sales, mobile, internet and AT for payment of goods and services.    Highlights of the policy include  the charges imposed on cash transactions above the limit stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

   The implementation of the charges was however suspended to allow for more awareness and also improvement in the efficiency of electronic payment channels across the country. However, the apex bank announced the reintroduction of the cashless charges. These include: charges for cash deposit by individuals- deposit less than N500, 000, zero charge; from N500, 000 to N1 million, 1.5 per cent; from N1 million to N5 million, two per cent charge; above N5 million, 3 per cent charge. Emefiele CBN Governor Charges for cash withdrawal by individuals are as follows: Less than N500, 000, zero charge; From N500, 000 to N1 million, two per cent; from N1 million to N5 million, 3 per cent charge; above N5 million, 7.5 per cent charge. Charges for corporate cash deposit are as follow: Less than N3 million, zero charge; from N3 million to N10 million, two per cent; from N10 million to N40 million, three per cent; above N40 million, five per cent. Charges for corporate cash withdrawal are as follows: Less than N3 million, zero charge; from N3 million to N10 million, five per cent; from N10 million to N40 million, 7.5 per cent; above N40 million, 10 per cent.

 Existing exemptions made in the first policy was sustained. According to the apex bank, the new charges would take effect from April 1, 2017, in the existing cashless states (Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja). The CBN also said that the policy shall be implemented with the charges taking effect on May 1, 2017 in the following states: Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Ondo, Osun and Plateau; on August 1, 2017 in Edo, Katsina, Jigawa, Niger, Oyo, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Taraba and Nasarawa; and on  October 1, 2017 in Borno, Benue, Ekiti, Cross River, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Yobe, Sokoto and Zamfara.

However, some bank customers who spoke to Sunday Vanguard claimed they are not aware of this development. Mr.  James Goodsight, who sells writing materials and accessories, said, “Based on my present status I don’t have any idea about the cashless policy. I only know of the previous policy in which you cannot withdraw above N150, 000. Based on the current development, as per the withdrawal and deposit limits and charges, it is not encouraging for growing businesses especially at this point in time where the prices of goods and services are high with little or no profit.” Also, Emmanuel Davis, Manager of City Walk bar, said, “I am not aware of the development. In my view, the charges are too much. How can I pay 1.5 per cent for depost from N500,000 to N1 million. for example, a company which pays salaries, buy raw materials, see to the welfare of its Staff, among other expenses.

You expect them to give out the little profit they earned for deposits and withdrawal charges. Though using the ATM makes cash withdrawal and deposit easy.” Sunday Vanguard investigations showed that some bank customers have put in place measures to encourage their customers use electronic payment channels, in  a bid to avoid paying the charges. Assistant Unit Controller, Sweet Sensation Eatery, Mrs. Nnoma Albert, said, “We are aware of the policy. After the implementation of the first policy we took the step of using the Point of Sale (POS) to limit cash in hand.

Now our customers without cash make payments for their food using the POS. Now 50 per cent of our customers make payment using the PoS, while the remaining 50 per cent pay with cash. Similarly, Mr. Ugo Felix, a  pharmacist, said, “I am aware of the cashless policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The policy won’t help the SMEs. To avoid the policy I have introduced the use of Point Of Sale for payments made by customers. Now we don’t do much cash in hand payments”. Mr. Jamiu Shittu, Unit Controller, Chicken Republic, Mr. Jamiu Shittu, also commented on the development. He said: “I am aware of the cashless policy. The policy won’t affect our business because we use the POS to receive payments from customers. 60 per cent of our customers make payments using the POS while 40 per cent pay with cash.”

Source: Vangurd 

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