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Governors oppose policy, say challenges are huge 

 

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The governors of the 36 states of the Federation under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum have opposed the Central Bank of Nigeria policy on naira notes, saying that the challenges are huge.

In a communique signed by Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor, Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, at the end of the  virtual meeting on Thursday, with the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emiefele, the states Executive, described the challenges as problematic to the Nigerian populace.

They call on the CBN to consider the peculiarities of States especially as they pertain to financial inclusion and under-served locations.

They resolved to: “Work closely with the CBN leadership to ameliorate areas that require policy variation particularly the poorest households, the vulnerable in society and several other citizens of our country that are excluded.

“Collaborate with the CBN and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in advancing genuine objectives within the confines of our laws, noting that the recent NFIU Advisory and Guidelines on cash transactions were simply outside the NFIU’s legal remit and mandate.

“Finally set up a 6-member Committee to be Chaired by the Governor of Anambra State, Professor Charles Soludo and the Governors of the following States: Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Borno, Plateau and Jigawa as members, to engage the CBN in addressing anomalies in the country’s monetary management and financial system.”

Recall the CBN had announced the review upwards of the limit on cash withdrawals made by individuals and organisations.

Ahead of the distribution of the redesigned naira notes, the bank had on December 6 announced a new policy limiting over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities to N100, 000 and N500, 000, respectively, per week.

The upward review followed the request by National Assembly that the bank considerably adjust the withdrawal limits in response to public outcry on the policy.

The new directive to all banks, now allows individuals to withdraw up to N500,000 weekly and organisations, N5 million weekly.

In the event of compelling circumstances where cash withdrawal exceeds the limits required for legitimate purposes, such requests will attract a processing fee of 3 percent and 5 percent for individuals and corporate organizations, respectively.

And in such cases, the financial institutions are directed to obtain some information from the customer, at the minimum, and upload the same on the CBN portal created for the purpose.

The information includes a valid means of identification of the payee (National ID, International Passport, or Driver’s License); Bank Verification Number (BVN) of the payee; Tax Identification Number (TIN) of both the payee and the payer; and the approval in writing by the MD/CEO of the financial institution authorising the withdrawal.

It also said third-party cheques above N100,000 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while the extant limit of N10 million on clearing cheques still subsist.

The communique read thus:

We, the members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), received a briefing from the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, on the Naira redesign, its economic and security implications including the new withdrawal policy. Governors are not opposed to the objectives of the Naira redesign policy. However, we observe that there are huge challenges that remain problematic to the Nigerian populace.

In the circumstances, Governors expressed the need for the CBN to consider the peculiarities of States especially as they pertain to financial inclusion and under-served locations and resolved to:

1. Work closely with the CBN leadership to ameliorate areas that require policy variation particularly the poorest households, the vulnerable in society and several other citizens of our country that are excluded.

2. Collaborate with the CBN and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in advancing genuine objectives within the confines of our laws, noting that the recent NFIU Advisory and Guidelines on cash transactions were simply outside the NFIU’s legal remit and mandate.

3. Finally set up a 6-member Committee to be Chaired by the Governor of Anambra State, Professor Charles Soludo and the Governors of the following States: Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Borno, Plateau and Jigawa as members, to engage the CBN in addressing anomalies in the country’s monetary management and financial system.

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