The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a new policy on cash-based transactions in 2020 which stipulates a cash handling charge on daily cash withdrawals that exceed N500,000 for Individuals and N3,000,000 for Corporate bodies.
This cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) across six states including Abuja has been ruled as discriminatory, This was stated by a Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State.
Chijioke Ifediora an anambra state-based legal practitioner filled a lawsuit against the CBN, explaining the policy is discriminatory and offending section 42 of the 1999 Constitution in Anambra, Abia, Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Rivers and FCT where CBN enforces it.
In response to this claim regarding the policy, the CBN counsel Jackson Iragunima, in his submission contended that the policy was not discriminatory and is for the wellbeing of the country.
But in his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice N.O Dimgba agreed with the plaintiff that the CBN policy was discriminatory and offended section 42 of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
“I have reviewed the policy document as contained in the website of the defendant (CBN) as well as the implementing circulars and I am unable to see any rational and objective justification for the selective imposition of financial penalties against residents of the named six States and the FCT for making cash withdrawals and lodgements/deposits over the stipulated threshold,” the judge said.
He also noted that the policy, rather than promoting a cashless economy, encourages the proliferation of cash, by traders who rather keep their cash than to lodge it and pay financial levies of 2% and 3% of the amount.