Cashless Policy Revisited...
The CBN introduced the cashless policy, with the intention of achieving a cashless economy which will change us from a cash-based economy to a cashless one through electronic payment systems (e-payment).
It was designed only to enable Nigeria's monetary system fall in line with international standards and manual movement of huge cash, while improving our payment systems with the hope of improved service quality to the public.
Under the policy, the CBN pegged withdrawal by individual and corporate accounts at N500,000 and N3million, respectively while bank charges for withdrawals above the limits for individual customers is three percent and five percent corporate bodies. Lodgement charges for individual and corporate accounts are two percent and three percent, respectively. However, ministries, Departments and Agencies, specialised banks, diplomatic missions, multilateral and aid donor agencies have been exempted from penalties and charges emanating from this policy.
The smooth take-off of this policy in Lagos based on the huge cash transactions there allayed the initial fears entertained by the bank customers about the cashless policy and ultimate extension to six other states and the FCT.
The general public is apprehensive of the successful implementation of the policy because of the imperfections in our systems. Can you blame them? Who loses when there is a case of e-fraud? Are we as a people ready to part with our age long habit of carrying cash around? Can we be really convinced to change our mind set?
Do we have the key ingredients for a successful cashless policy such as proper education of the public about the policy and the availability of the needed infrastructural such as Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminals, regular and uninterrupted broad band or internet access, steady power supply, effective internet security to secure depositors funds among others?
We could commend the CBN's massive enlightenment campaign with the production and airing of jingles in the three major languages being spoken in Nigeria in a bid to reach the illiterates and rural dwellers. Will this change our minds and compel us to desire to make a success of the policy? Are you wondering why you still have to carry cash around or why you cannot make a simple purchase at your favourite store?
Despite the effort of the CBN to ensure smooth operation by increasing the number of PoS terminals across the country, the major headache is the functionality of the available PoS which are as epileptic as the national power supply.
E-payment systems despite its benefits are a high risk business fraught with many dangers. Have these been addressed yet by our banks? Have they put the necessary security measures in place? Are the banks ready to handle data crashes and equipment breaks considering the number of fraudsters and bank insiders who would try to sabotage it? Majority of reported bank e-frauds are committed by insiders working alone, in syndicates or colluding with outsiders. E-frauds are more devastating than manual operations, they can result in total loss of all deposits in a split second without refunds by the banks.
With the massive reduction in the movements of huge cash, CBN will be able to check the rate of inflation. The cashless policy will also help financial crime commissions like EFCC and ICPC to fight financial crimes by making money laundering very expensive due to the attendant charges.
The CBN will spend less annually in reprinting naira notes, because of the prolonged lifespan of naira notes as well as reducing the overhead cost of commercial banks.
Despite all odds, the success of the cashless policy will do us more good in the long run. When your wallet or ATM card is lost, you don't lose all your cash, just a plastic card that could be blocked at your bank in a few minutes.
As a parting shot, try to maintain your cool when the ATM refuses to dispense money, it takes awhile for even the national budget to be passed.
Keep on keeping on! »
Jackie Appiah »