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“More Nigerians Would Be Thrown Under The Poverty Bus”

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says the naira withdrawal limit recently announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria would bring more hardship to citizens of the country, particularly the masses.

The NLC through its president, Ayuba Wabba said the implementation of the policy is ill-timed because most rural areas do not have technological facilities to support transactions of such type of business activities.

He said some local government areas in some states at the moment do not even have functional banking services and have to rely heavily on cash transactions to carry out day-to-day business activities.

Wabba added that the business of Point of Sales (POS) operators who rely on it for survival is also threatened.

Naija News recalls the CBN had initially announced a limit of N100,000 per week for individual cash withdrawals and N500,000 ceiling for corporate cash withdrawals but following major outcries, the apex bank reviewed the limit to N500,000 and N5 million for individuals and organizations respectively.

While acknowledging the fact that the policy is targeted at stopping those manipulating the system for money laundering, it has become a case of trying to kill a fly with a machine gun.

The NLC president, therefore, called for a total review of the policy.

He said: “The fiscal policy which on paper appears to target the rich especially unscrupulous ones who manipulate the system to launder money has now become a case of trying to kill a fly with a machine gun.

“The impact of this policy can be easily felt in rural markets where agricultural commodities, livestock, and farm produce are traded.”

Examples Of Infrastructural Deficiencies

He noted that the policy would affect those in the rural areas who have little or no access to modern banking services.

“A few instances would help paint a clearer picture. In Yobe State, there are only 4 local governments that have the presence of fully functional banking facilities.

“In Borno State with 27 local governments, there are only about four local councils where conventional deposit money institutions operate,” he said.

Wabba lamented that if implemented as it is, the CBN policy would negatively affect many innocent Nigerians while the targeted persons would find a way to circumvent the system.

“The implication is that many more Nigerians would be thrown under the poverty bus,” he said.

He added that there are over 18 million POS informal economy workers in Nigeria, and there is no gainsaying the fact that this policy by the CBN will put majority of them out of business and rob their families their daily subsistence.

Don’t Punish The Poor

He stated that, “while this policy punishes the poor, the rich especially the unscrupulous ones would hardly feel the pinch of this fiscal regulation.

“It is an open secret that many of the very rich people in Nigeria run private banks in their houses. There have been several instances where humungous stash of cash had been unearthed in many private homes in Nigeria during criminal investigations.”

The NLC President insisted that the policy should be reviewed before implementation so the masses can be protected and the aim not destroyed.

“Overall, we wish to draw the attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria to the disruptive impact of its recent policy on cash withdrawal limits especially given its counter-productive effect on CBN’s commendable drive for financial inclusion. This policy would emasculate many small businesses and informal workers from formal financial circles,” Wabba submitted.

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