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Why implementing cashless policy is too early

It is too early for us in Nigeria as a whole to adopt a cashless policy. It is just obviously too early. Yesterday, I read…

It is too early for us in Nigeria as a whole to adopt a cashless policy. It is just obviously too early. Yesterday, I read a post by Prof. Abdelghaffar Amoka of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in Kaduna State, about his experience with a Point of Sale, PoS, agent.  

He had gone to refill his gas cylinders at the cost of 19k+ and he used a PoS machine to pay for it. Though he was debited, the money wasn’t credited to the PoS agent’s account. Rather than waste his time there, he transferred another amount to someone’s account to pay. He would have become helpless if he had no money left in his account.  

Some weeks back, I experienced a similar thing in Abuja. I went to withdraw N5, 000 using a PoS. I was debited but the money was not credited to the PoS account. The operator said she would not give me the money because her account was not credited. It took my bank nearly 10 days to refund me.  

Before going ahead with its cashless policy, another factual and excusable factor the apex bank should consider is the fact that most of our businesses are done in cash, especially those trading in rural communities where there are no banks, no internet, no electricity, no education. These people form a large portion of the Nigerian populace.  

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The questions I keep asking myself regarding this policy are: Did the Central Bank of Nigeria build banks in those areas? Would the people be travelling from their various villages to cities to transfer, withdraw or deposit money? What did the government do in place of these challenges? Does CBN have enough manpower to do this job even if they have built banks? Did CBN mistake Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and a few cities for Nigeria?  

These, among other reasons, are the factors I want the CBN governor to consider. Before they present this policy, they need to put all these things in place and educate people about it so that people will evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, and decide to either oppose or support it. The CBN didn’t do that. It just woke up  and served it to the Nigerians a la carte.  

Lawan Bukar Maigana wrote from Abuja and can be reached via email: Lawanbukarmaigana@gmail.com