The last may not have been heard on the adverse effect of the new Central Bank of Nigeria withdrawal policy as real estate developers have said the policy, if implemented, will lead to a rise in the price of housing units.
This was as they urged the government to have a quick rethink of the plan as it might make or mar government’s commitment to reduce the housing deficit.
The CBN, in a memo in November, announced a limit on cash withdrawals made by individuals and organisations with effect from January 9, 2023.
The bank mandated that over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100,000 and N500,000, respectively, per week. It also directed that the maximum cash withdrawal per week via ATM should be N100,000 subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day.
But the President and Chairman of the Council of Real Estate Developer Association of Nigeria, Aliyu Wamakko, said the policy would make life unbearable for the 38 million Nigerian unbanked adults representing 36 per cent of the populace.
He said, “It is seriously going to be a herculean task for the unbanked if the government do not rethink this policy.
“The policy to pay processing fees will increase our cost of production and business in real estate is garbage in, garbage out.
“If I have to go to the bank every day and they will charge me 10 per cent for my withdrawals and this happens for 30 days, it will definitely affect my selling price.”
Citing an example, he said, “Real estate construction involves direct labour and its workers are people who work on daily pay. So, you work with them and pay. So, imagine you have 20 houses under construction with not less than 10 labourers on each site. Even if you are paying them N3,000 per day, that will be N600,000 in total, how much are you expecting me to withdraw to pay them?
“Most of our construction is with direct labour and direct labour requires someone to work for you and you pay him there and then. Also, most of these bricklayers and labourers don’t even have a bank account. So, it is mind-boggling for us.
“We know it is a Federal Government issue but we are calling on them to review the policy not only because of us but for those in the rural areas who don’t even what a bank is all about. They should have a rethinking and make life easier for the people.”