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Cashless movement in Jeopardy as Stamp Duty charge forces Nigerians to use Cash

More Nigerians are now shunning transactions via Point of Sales (PoS) terminals; owing to the implementation of a ₦50 additional charge by merchants, as imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Nigeria Inter- Bank Settlement System (NIBSS). The CBN described the new service levy as Stamp Duty Charge.

The Guardian investigations showed that customers now avoid ePayment platform in preference for cash deals, thereby throwing a big spanner in the Federal Government’s financial inclusion drive and in particular, the CBN’s cashless policy.

Customers, who previously cheered CBN’s decision to infuse the policy, saying it would eliminate the risk of carrying cash and reduce the cost of printing Naira notes, have criticised the move to collect stamp duty charges on PoS transactions.

It must also be mentioned that other payment channels, including the automated teller machines (ATMs), Instant Transfers, Online Banking, and Mobile Banking are still seriously challenged. Already, financial transactions are replete with all manners of excess charges by the banks and merchants, even when services are not delivered as and when due.

According to the CBN 2017 to 2019 Banking Guide, Nigerians, especially bank customers are made to face several charges by the financial institutions. These include N52.50k monthly card maintenance fee; N65 after third withdrawal in ATM interbank fees. Most times, banks remove the N65 at the first and subsequent withdrawals.

The banks still deduct N4 for SMS alerts, including unsolicited ones for birthday wishes, national and international day celebrations and operational updates. There is also N52 deduction in electronic transfer service. Banks also collect as much as N4,000 as fee for hardware token and N4 for one-time pin (OTP) SMS charge as well as N20 per page of a Statement of Account, among others.

While all these are imposed, then comes the N50 Stamp Duty Charge on Nigerians, who use the PoS terminals.

According to customers, the new N50 charge, which has been implemented by many fuel stations and supermarkets in Lagos, has become a burden and a source of worry to them and merchants as well.