Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a reversal of the cashless policy. This was contained in a circular dated April twenty 2017 and signed by the Apex Bank’s Director, Banking and Payment Systems Department, Mr Dipo Fatokun. Cashless policy was introduced on first January 2012 by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to curb excesses in the handling of cash in the country.
The policy was enforced not to eliminate the use of cash but to reduce the volume of cash in circulation. To this end, CBN described cash handling charges on daily withdraw above five hundred thousand naira for individuals and three million for corporate bodies irrespective of the Channels.
In February this year, new charges were introduced to take effect from April but suspended till further notice through a circular date April 20 2017 by the Apex Bank. Prior to this directive, the CBN directed banks to make all necessary refunds to customers with immediate effect.
The announcement on the reversal of the cashless policy, generated misconception that the nation was turning back to cash based economy. According to financial experts, the Cardinal objective of the cashless system is to drive development and modernization of Nigeria payment system in line with the vision 2020 goal of Nigeria becoming one of the top twenty economies of the world. An economist, Professor Sylvester Ike Udagba and a management consultant, Doctor Emma Iroegbu said the cashless policy had enormous advantages on this nation’s economy and financial sector.
Some merchants and traders in Enugu expressed the hope that the reversal of the policy would not displace the cashless policy as it had helped to reduce cash related crimes like robbery, money laundering, fraud, theft and financial losses in fire outbreaks. The directive for banks to refund all excess charges to their customers , merchants and traders urged the CBN to set up a taskforce to ensure the enforcement.