Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
As reactions trail the new withdrawal limit directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, President General of African Association for Small and Medium Enterprises, Ambassador Darlington Kalu, has accused the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, of crashing the businesses of SME operators.
This is as the former National President of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, described the policy as “too draconian and punitive.”
Ambassador Kalu who spoke with Ikengaonline, told Emefiele to first consult with necessary stakeholders and properly analyse situations on ground before churning out policies.
“This new policy is not going to grow our economy. Nigerian economy has not grown since Emefiele became the CBN Governor. He can’t sit down in the comfort of his office and marshal out policies like a military Head of State. He should come to the streets to know if it will suit those he is making the policies for.
“Does he know the volume of business we are doing? He should bridge the gap between banks and enterprises and do a practical analysis of the situation first. Even the CBN limit for SMEs says N50,000 – N1 million for micro businesses; N1 million to N50 million for small enterprises; and N50 million to N500 million for medium enterprises.
“We are going to write the CBN Governor and tell him to come and study business before making policies. Why should he keep crashing people’s businesses? Look at the timing, Christmas and election period! It’s too bad. Emefiele, why will you do this to people now?
“This is the man that said he wanted to be President. Is this how you will rule Nigeria? Don’t you have commonsense? This is democracy and power belongs to the people. The National Assembly should rise against this. Even kings come to the village square to consult with their constituents before important decisions are taken.”
Mazi Ohuabunwa said the policy would only create more economic hardship among Nigerians, and give room for corruption among bankers.
“It’s too draconian, it’s too harsh for a cash economy like Nigeria.
It just shows that those who run Nigeria don’t have a proper understanding of how economy operates.
“There is a high level of the informal sector, and this will bring much hardship and suffering on the people. It will also create opportunity for corruption. It will open windows for bankers and all manner of interlopers to corrupt the system much more.
“The policy is too restrictive and it doesn’t speak of a democratic environment. I don’t understand what it will achieve in the short run.”
“I believe in some controls but what will N20,000 a day cash withdrawal do for somebody considering the high rate of inflation in the country?
“If you go to some places, people are still asking for cash. If you want to buy yam will you tell the seller you want to do some transfer when perhaps there is no network coverage in the environment?
“I support phased approach. What they should have done is to put more motivation and not punishment. They should look for how to motivate people to do more on-line transactions.
“They have just created opportunity for corruption. The rules will be beaten. Bankers will become billionaires overnight. They do everything where government puts control and this won’t be an exception.
“It’s unfortunate that they don’t understand how economy runs. It’s by incentives and people will naturally gravitate towards the incentives, and not by punishing the masses.”