The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it will henceforth take cashless policy seriously, stating that people will fill countless forms and provide their data before they can withdraw large amounts.
Godwin Emefiele, governor of the apex bank who stated this on Wednesday, also said the redesign of the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes was not targeted at any individual or group of people in the country.
The CBN governor spoke while while fielding questions from State House reporters after the launch of the redesigned naira notes by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Emefiele, who said the CBN was only doing its job, insisted that cashless policy would be implemented nationwide.
On how the plans would succeed when told that the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, said some governors were trying to frustrate the new policy, the CBN governor said: “Like I said earlier, our policy of redesign and reissue is not targeted at anyone. But of course we have the laws and we will indeed be more intense in ensuring that the provisions of the law and our CBN regulations about the size and volume of currency that people can carry, or hold or withdraw, we will insist that this is done going forward.”
He added, “In other countries, in the US, you want to withdraw $10,000 from the counter, you will be interrogated, you will fill numerous forms, they will even track the use of that $10,000 cash that you are withdrawing. Or you want to withdraw £10,000 from the counter, they will refuse and if you insist, then you will fill forms.
“The problems we have had in the past is that we say this is a cash economy. There is no economy that is inbuilt thinking that it has to be cash economy. The world has moved away from predominantly cash to cashless economy. And I think Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria is prepared at this time to move towards a cashless economy.
“And that is the reason for the reissue of these notes. We will insist that cashless would be nationwide. We will restrict the volume of cash that people can withdraw over the counter.
“If you need to withdraw large volume of cash, you will fill uncountable forms. We will take your data, whether it is your BVN, your NIN so that enforcement agencies like EFCC or ICPC can follow you and be sure that you are taking that money for good purpose.”
Emefiele warned Nigerians against holding of the old notes, saying there was no going back on the January 31st 2023 deadline to completely render the old notes useless.
“We have to work as a country. Nigeria is the biggest country both in population and economy in Africa and we have to ensure that we do things the right way that also positions us as the leader in Africa and one of the leading countries in the world. We must do things right and I think it would start from today,” he added.