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Banks key into CBN’s nationwide cashless policy to apply charges

With the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) going nationwide as at June 16,2020, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have positioned to apply necessary charges according to the directive of the regulator.

Cashless policy is an initiative introduced by the CBN to reduce the amount of physical cash in circulation thereby encouraging the use of electronic platforms for settlement or payment for goods and services.

Last week, precisely on June 16, 2020 Fidelity Bank Plc sent a note to its numerous customers, updating them on the initiative.

The note reads: “kindly note that commencing June 16, 2020 the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s cashless policy will take effect nationwide. With this policy in place, all cash transactions by individuals and corporates above the limits will attract processing fees”.

On September 18, 2020, the CBN issued a circular which allowed for bank charges on deposits effective the same day. This however, was kicked against by the public resulting in suspension of the charges by the National Assembly.

Consequently, customers are to pay huge fees for cash deposit or withdrawal above N500k individual or N3m corporate in Abia, Abuja, Anambra, Kano, Lagos, Ogun or Rivers State. Rest of the country was to take effect from March 31, 2020 but for the delay which was as a result of the intervention by the National Assembly.

In the circular to deposit money banks signed by Sam Okojere, director, payment system management department, the nationwide implementation of cashless policy would take effect on the stated date.

Responding to this development, Taiwo Oyedele, head of tax PwC, said the policy will affect supermarkets and retailers with a lot of cash takings, and even tax collectors who collect taxes in cash.

He said in his tweeter account that without careful implementation with relevant exemptions, this policy will negatively affect financial inclusion and further complicates ease of doing business for small businesses.

In a note to its customers on ‘important update on stamp duty’, Access Bank Plc stated, “you may recall that the CBN mandated a charge of N50 as stamp duty charge on all credit received into current and savings accounts. This is in respect of deposits and electronic transfers into all Naira-denominated accounts for transaction values of N10,000 and above. We recently discovered that the charges on applicable transactions carried out between February 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020 were inadvertently not passed on your account. We sincerely apologise for this.

However, in compliance with the CBN mandate, we will be required to process the accumulated charges for the said period on your account for remittance to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also on stamp duty charge, Fidelity Bank on March 18, 2020, informed its customers that stamp duty charges have been extended to savings accounts effective February 1, 2020. This is in line with the recent Finance Act 2020, which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 13, 2020. With this development, some changes were made to stamp duty collection in the Finance Act.

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