•The Nigerian government will be banning cash withdrawals from government accounts from March 1.
•This move is in an effort to tackle illicit activities and cut off financial support from terrorist extremists.
•The Central Bank of Nigeria has already limited weekly over-the-counter cash withdrawals and ATM withdrawals to certain limits.
The Nigerian government is taking action to tackle illicit activities and cut off financial support from terrorist extremists by banning cash withdrawals from government accounts as of March 1. This move is part of the country’s push to digitize its economy, and comes just a week after the country is set to conduct a presidential election. The Central Bank of Nigeria has already limited weekly over-the-counter cash withdrawals to 100,000 nairas ($225) for individuals and 500,000 nairas ($1,124) for corporations, and ATM withdrawals to $45 per day, with denominations of 1,000 nairas ($2.25) and 500 nairas ($1.10) not available on cash vending machines from January.
In an effort to tackle illicit activities and financial support from terrorist groups, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Chief Executive Modibbo Tukur has indicated that the government is taking measures to investigate any cash withdrawals from government accounts. He stated that “On March 1, if there is a cash withdrawal from a government account, even if it is one naira, we are going to trigger off money laundering and corruption investigations.” This ban on cash withdrawals is a drastic move, but one that is necessary for the country to move forward.
With millions of Nigerians living in poverty, Bitcoin and Cardano have been offering a glimmer of hope for those who are locked out of the banking industry. Following the successful deployment of the digital Naira, the Nigerian government is now pushing its economy toward cryptographic payments. This ban on cash withdrawals is a step in the right direction, and the country can only hope that the new measures will be effective in combating illicit activities.