Starting today, banks in the nation’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos State, would start charging penalty from customers who withdraw or deposit cash above the limits stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the Cashless Economy System.
This is as the CBN and the Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN) said they were working to address the regulatory and administrative loopholes discovered in the implementation of the cashless policy, especially the pilot phase in Lagos .
According to the CBN, banks are to commence implementation of sanctions under the pilot scheme from today. The pilot scheme of the Cashless Policy applies to transactions conducted in branches of banks situated in Lagos State only for now.
Key findings from the research showed that about 68 per cent of consumers and 59 per cent of merchants surveyed thought Nigeria was not ready for a cashless economy; of the 58 per cent consumers who used electronic payments in the last six months, 48 per cent of respondents used it only for withdrawing cash. Only 10 per cent used it for actual purchase and bill payments.
The research on the Cashless Nigeria which was released on Tuesday March 20, 2012 showed that numerous newspaper adverts on cashless Lagos amounted to eight per cent of awareness for consumers, while 81 per cent of respondents have never used their cards for online transactions.
Mrs. Onajite Regha, the CEO/Executive Secretary of E-PPAN, said that the top concerns of all stakeholder groups and E-PPAN members were the need for more awareness and education on how to perform cashless transactions; overcoming infrastructural challenges to make the facility widely available and reliable; greater security of the platforms and fear of fraud; making the benefits clear to merchants and incentivising usage; minimising tariffs and charges; putting in place a legal framework for industry standards and to combat cyber crime.
Meanwhile, the apex bank recently reviewed the cash limits for withdrawal and lodgement as well as sanctions for exceeding the limits.
Accordingly, daily limits were reviewed upward from N150,000 and N1 million to N500,000 and N3 million on free withdrawals and lodgments by individual and corporate customers respectively.
Hence, the processing fees for withdrawals above the limit were reduced from 10 per cent to three per cent and from 20 per cent to five per cent for individuals and corporate bodies respectively while the processing fee for lodgments above the limit was reduced from 10 per cent to two per cent and from 20 per cent to three per cent for individuals and corporate bodies respectively.
Exemptions were granted to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal and State governments on lodgments for accounts operated by them, for the purpose of revenue collections.
Meanwhile, the pilot programme in Lagos State has now been extended to December 31, 2012 in order to allow people to be more conversant with the new initiative. As such, the roll-out of the programme in other States of the federation has been deferred to January 1, 2013.