The introduction of the cashless policy in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria has gotten Nigerians talking. The policy, looks promising on paper, with several benefits Nigerians stand to gain, which includes making Nigeria one of the strongest economies, in line with its vision 20:20.
Nigerians are not archaic; they know a good thing when they see one and desire a convenient mode of business transactions. But the question many people are asking is “how effective is this policy?” The relevance of this question is based on the fact that a good number of Nigerians are not learned. However, Nigerians have been participants in the bubbling Nigerian economy right from the it’s independence from British rule. Also, Nigerians have been doing their business with no other means but cash. There is the garri seller who does his/her business with nothing but cash. With this cashless policy, how is this trader, who probably doesn’t have a bank account supposed to transact his/her business?
In a country where about seventy million people, out of its one hundred and fifty population are unbanked, Nigerians are wondering about what would happen to the unbanked populace who are vibrant business operators. Will they be kicked out of business? Despite the awareness on e-transaction created by the CBN, this unbanked populace are not in a hurry to open bank accounts because of their convenience.
The Point of Sale (POS) terminals provided by the CBN to aid this cashless policy, hasn’t been of much help due to the technicalities associated with it. “How is the business man or woman at Alaba market, who didn’t make it through primary school supposed to effectively operate and control the terminal? Also, this POS terminal obviously cannot work on its own, but with the availability of network waves. What happens when network gets bad as often the case in Nigeria? Does that mean that businesses will be on hold until network decides to come on?
These and many more unanswered questions make the impact of the cashless policy in Nigeria seem favorable to the formal sector and unfavorably to the informal sector of business operations in Nigeria.