The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently came up with a cashless policy, the implementation of which is to take effect nationwide. The apex bank explained that the policy takes effect in six states of Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The cashless policy is a CBN initiative to reduce the amount of physical cash in circulation, thereby encouraging the use of electronic platforms for settlement or payment for goods and services. CBN says the cashless policy is strictly applicable to cash-based transactions and not an electronic banking. It stipulates a cash handling charge of 3% on daily cash withdrawals that exceed N500,000 for individuals and 5% for amount above N3m for corporate bodies.
However, the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele in a press conference told Nigerians that the policy will continue, contrary to insinuations that the policy will bring untold hardship on the generality of the people, saying that only five to ten percent of bank customers would be affected by the policy.
We agree that going cashless not only eases one’s life but helps authenticate and formalize the transactions that are done; it helps curb corruption, and the expenditure incurred in printing and transportation of currency notes is reduced.
Though the implementation of the cashless policy on withdrawals may have a negative impact on micro, small and medium enterprises which are clearly the engine room for growth of the economy and employment generation with the attendant effects being the traders who may now be compelled to carry cash about. Another concern from stakeholders is the five hundred thousand naira limit as some are of the opinion that the limit be raised to say one million naira.
Our concern and call to the apex bank, is that there should be a robust enlightenment and awareness campaign with a focus on rural Nigerians to be brought and integrated into the electronic economy. This has become very necessary because there is a lot of funds in the hands of rural dwellers, particularly, these not accustom to saving in the banks. Getting a chunk of those funds and people open accounts will certainly release such into the national economy for good.
While the introduction of the cashless policy is a welcome development particularly in line with world global best practices. A reasonable window ought to be given to ensure that the policy is all embracing for the overall good and health of the national economy. The CBN must set eagle eyes to observe the experiences being done in the pioneering states kick-starting the cashless policy, with a view to correcting or amending wherever the need arises.