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What the CBN new policy means

On Tuesday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced new charges on cash deposits and withdrawals on individual and corporate bank accounts.

The bank said daily individual cumulative or single cash withdrawals in excess of N500,000 would attract a 3 per cent charge, while 2 per cent would be paid on deposits above the amount. For corporate bodies, the benchmark is N3 million — 3 per cent for deposit and 5 per cent for withdrawal.

It said the move would encourage Nigerians to handle less cash and instead embrace digital transactions.

The plan is not entirely new. It was first rolled out in 2012 but the charges were only applied to transactions in Lagos.

In 2013, the CBN extended the coverage areas to Abia, Anambra, Kano, Ogun and Rivers States, and Abuja.

In 2014, the bank said it was suspending a proposed nationwide implementation till 2015 to allow for more publicisation and deployment of the required infrastructure.

By April 2017, the bank suspended the policy “untill further notice.”

In its latest announcement on Tuesday, the Director, Payments System Management Department at the CBN, Sam Okojere, said the charges will resume in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Rivers states and the Federal Capital Territory.

What the CBN new policy means

The charges do not apply on the first N500,000 for individuals and N3 million for corporate bodies. They will apply on the excess amount.

For instance, if a bank user withdraws N1 million from his individual account, the new policy expects the user to pay N15,000 as a charge — being the 3 per cent on the extra N500,000. If the user lodges the same amount, the charge will be N10,000.

If a business pays N5 million cash into its company account, the charge will be N60,000 — being the 3 per cent of the extra N2 million. If it withdraws the same amount, the charge will be N100,000.

Some Nigerians have hinted at splitting their lodgments or withdrawals to avoid charges. That may not be effective on the same day as the charges apply on single or cumulative daily transactions. Splitting can only work if the subsequent transactions are done on another day.

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