Nigeria Moves from ‘Banking the Unbanked’ to ‘Un-Banking the Banked’

• The Nigerian government has recently imposed restrictions on cash withdrawals, limiting it to about $225 per week.
• This is seen as an attempt to push citizens toward alternative payment options, such as the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) eNaira.
• However, these regulations are seen as a form of financial control and an effort to force citizens into a cashless economy.


In late 2021, Nigeria introduced a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the eNaira, into its financial system in order to drive consumers towards alternative payment options. To further this goal, the Nigerian government has imposed restrictions on cash withdrawals from banks, limiting them to about $225 per week or around 100,000 naira. This policy has been met with criticism by Nigerians who view it as a form of financial control and an effort to force citizens into a cashless economy.

Financial Inclusion

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria stated that the CBDC was created with the purpose of ensuring “financial inclusion” for all Nigerians. He believes that this digital currency will provide solutions such as inflation control and rigid access to foreign exchange which paper money could not do so effectively.

Un-Banking The Banked

Despite these intentions however, many Nigerians have found that the move towards using digital currencies for payments is actually making them “un-banked.” A particular example was given by Oluwasegun Kosemani who tweeted his experience attempting to purchase 10,000 Naira worth of goods with 1000 Naira from his Mastercard but being unable due to government policies. This suggests that instead of creating financial inclusion for all citizens through digital currencies, these policies are instead creating more difficulty for those already banked.

Implications For Citizens

These regulations have far-reaching implications on all citizens in Nigeria since they limit their freedom when it comes to their own finances and how they spend their money since there is no longer full access to cash or traditional banking systems. As such it can be difficult for people unable or unwilling to use digital payment methods due to lack of access or trust in technology respectively. It can also be difficult for small businesses who may not have access or understanding on how best utilize digital payment methods in comparison with traditional ones like cash or cheques which they are more familiar with.


Ultimately while introducing a CBDC may seem like an attractive option for providing greater financial inclusion and tackling economic issues such as inflation and foreign exchange rates it must be done responsibly without sacrificing consumer freedoms or creating additional problems for those already banked by traditional means . Therefore it is important that appropriate regulations are put in place along with education initiatives so that both individuals and businesses can benefit from new technologies while also feeling secure doing so