Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cashless economy: Lagos banks, depositors shun CBN directive

As business activities fully kicked-off in Lagos on Tuesday, banks and depositors shunned Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy on cash-less economy as cash deposits above the stipulated N150,000 was being lodged in banks across the state. Some commercial banks monitored by Peoples Daily in Lagos, observed through banks’ lodgment books showed that customers still conduct their usual transactions at GT Bank, First Bank and Oceanic bank in Ogba. However, only few banks in the metropolis have started debiting service charges on transaction above N150,000 while customers argued that the policy will not succeed in the state as no facility has been put in place to ease the mode of payment. A depositor at Ogba branch of Oceanic bank who spoke to our reporter confirmed lodging about N300,000 to his account but only after a serious argument with the cashier. “I threatened to close my account; Imagine, I am into selling tyres, which involve about N500,000 daily; Will I keep the money in my house and later lose it to robbers or tell a mechanic, who can hardly operate his phone to do e-payment, without losing the customer to another competitor in the business?” he queried. Another trader, Mr. Sunday James, who spoke to Peoples Daily correspondent in Lagos yesterday said the CBN should put a lot of things into consideration before coming up with such policy. “Although it is helping some people doing business but its not helping the informal sector where heavy cash exchange hands daily. The CBN should look for another alternative that will benefit we traders in the state. If I need N500,000 to buy goods in the market and its impossible to cash it once then business will not flow”. Customers however expressed the fear that all extra charges associated with e-payment channels would be transferred to customers at the end of the day, thereby making banking service expensive in the country. With the commencement of the e-payment policy the large crowd within some banking halls in Lagos are expected to reduce as customers are expected to engage in mobile banking and electronic funds transfer without going to the banks. Lagos traders not prepared for cashless economy Thursday, 29 December 2011 18:11 administrator From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos As the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) prepares to on Sunday, 1st of January 2012, traders in the Computer Village, Ikeja; Balogun Market in Idumota among other places visited by People’s Daily in showed low preparation to go cashless. The trades lamented poor information about the policy while a few others claimed complete ignorance on the envisaged policy introduction. Samuel Akitu, who deals in of computers in Ikeja, said many Nigerians are not adequately informed by the CBN on how the policy operates. “Many of our customers who buy up to 300,000 to one million worth of goods daily are not inform we don’t have enough POS machine so how do we go cash less” he queried. Also, the leader of New Computer Traders Association, Mr. Eze Nbueze said its members handle more than N100 million worth of transactions daily. “All together, we handle more than N100 million here daily; the CBN does not make provision for we the traders but we will encourage our members to embrace it”. Also at Balogun market, some traders said the policy is dead on arrival. “I am not aware that I will not be able to deposit or withdrawal N150,000 but if government wants it like that, we will go back to our traditional method of saving money,” Mrs. Akin Olaosebikan told People’s Daily. The African Renaissance Party (ARP) Lagos state chapter argued that the CBN cashless policy is a new year economic disaster package to Lagosians, the policy is doomed to become a colossal failure right from the point of commencement and indeed have exposed the CBN governor as incompetent and inexperienced. The state chairman of the party, Udoka Udeogaranya in a statement said, “Lagos state, chosen by CBN to experiment their cashless policy, is not ripe for a programme that has to be effective right from the word go. The effectual implementation of an all encompassing cashless policy has no chance in a state that struggles with poor electricity supply, poor information technology services, poor ICT maintenance units and poor ICT literacy. “We dare the CBN governor to visit a merchant city like Guangzhou in China and see how the Chinese government, which is austere with its economy, yet allow merchants to have their way there, while industrial cities like Ningbo, Yiwu and Xiemen can thrive with over regulatory financial policies. In the livelihoods of merchants it is cash first and prices varies, therefore regulations are minimized. “This cashless policy will see retrenchment of bank staffs as many of the work will now be piled up for information technology gadgets to do and which will culminate into high rate of unemployment that is already a threat to the nations security”. Cash deposit or withdrawals exceeding the stipulated of N150, 000 (for individuals) and N1 million (for corporate bodies) would not attract the punitive processing charge on the commencement of the pilot scheme in Lagos on Sunday, January 1, 2012.

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