Central Bank of Nigeria enforces ATM withdrawal limits to encourage usage of the eNaira
The Nigerian Government has imposed new restrictions on ATM withdrawals in an effort to increase usage of the eNaira.
By Anna B Kiwanuka
In an effort to advance its policy of a cashless Nigeria and promote the usage of the eNaira, the digital currency issued by the central bank of Nigeria, the country has significantly reduced the amount of cash that individuals and businesses can withdraw (CBDC).
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued the directive to financial businesses in a circular released on 6th December, noting that individuals and businesses would now be limited to withdrawing $45 (20,000 Nigerian nairas) per day and $225 (100,000 nairas) per week from ATMs.
According to the circular, individuals and businesses will also be limited to withdrawing $225 (100,000 nairas) and $1,125 (500,000 nairas), respectively, at banks per week, with individuals hit with a 5% fee and businesses with a 10% fee for amounts above those limits.
In addition, the maximum cash withdrawal via point-of-sale terminals is also capped at $45 (20,000 nairas) per day.
Announcing the changes, the Director of Banking Supervision Haruna Mustafa emphasized,
“Customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels such as internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira, etc. to conduct their banking transactions.”
The restrictions are cumulative for each withdrawal, so someone who withdraws $45 from an ATM on the same day and then tries to withdraw money from a bank will be charged a 5% service fee. Prior to the announcement, the daily cash withdrawal cap for individuals was $338 (150,000 naira) and for enterprises, $1,128 (500,000 naira).
Adoption rates for eNaira have been low since its launch on October 25, 2021. As reported recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria has struggled to convince its citizens to use the CBDC, with less than 0.5% of the population reported having used the eNaira as of October 25, a year from its launch.
Nigeria implemented its “cash-less” policy in 2012 with the justification that doing so would improve the efficiency of its payment system, lower the cost of banking services, and increase the efficacy of its monetary policy.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Nigeria’s central bank, announced on October 26 that the bank will be reissuing new banknotes in an effort to promote the transition to digital payments because 85% of all Naira in circulation was stored outside of banks.
Nigeria is one of 11 nations that have fully implemented a CBDC, according to a tracker created by the American think tank Atlantic Council. Another 15 nations have started experimental projects, and India is expected to follow soon after.