An Economist, Dr Tope Fasua, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure optimally functional internet capacities for the cashless policy be effective.
Fasua said this on Sunday in Abuja in interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to him, cashless policy and financial inclusion are gradual processes which require time for the banks to improve their capacity and perfect.
“There is no country in the world where everybody is financially included; and there is no country that is totally cashless. It is a matter of effort and gradual progress.
“People should be allowed to embrace cashless by themselves, not by punishment, ” he said.
Fasua said that what Nigerians had experienced in the last few weeks, with scarcity of cash due to the CBN’s Naira redesign policy, which was affecting many small business, would further alienate them from the policy.
“Personally, I have been trying an online bank transaction for the past two hours, I have tried for more than 200 times without success.
“This is because the platforms of the banks have been choked up, and they do not have capacity for the kind of uptick they experiencing, ” he said.
He, however, said that the apex bank had recorded some achievements with the Naira redesign policy as many more Nigerians had keyed into cashlessness.
According to him, Nigerians will become even more comfortable with the policy when the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) improve their online banking capacity.
Fasua also commended the Supreme Court for its decision on Naira redesign, and to extend the legal tender status of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 to Dec. 31.
“It is good that the Supreme Court has taken that decision because the policy has been painful and seems to have derailed from what was intended.
“Transactions have slowed down, especially at the micro level, people are no longer spending, even if they manage to get the new Naira notes they just hold on to it.
“Banks had started to shut their doors permanently as they could not cope with the pressure of their customers seeking to withdraw cash. I am not sure that is how it was meant to be,” he said.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, to immediately comply with the decision of the apex court by making the old and new Naira notes available to Nigerians.
“The Supreme Court has done the right thing and we hope that the Federal Government will comply immediately, ” he said.
NAN recalls that the Supreme Court, on Friday, invalidated the Naira redesign policy initiated by the Federal Government on the grounds that it was not done with due consultation and in line with constitutional provisions.
The apex court, thus ordered that the old Naira notes should continue to be used side by side with the new Naira notes until Dec. 31.
The court held that the three months timeline given by the Federal Government was also not in tune with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act.
It argued that the president usurped the powers of the CBN when he issued the directive banning the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes from February 10. (NAN)