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Insecurity, Extension Of Old Currency Notes Return: Why Leapfrogging Into A Cashless Economy Is Difficult For Nigeria




The Oasis Reporters


January 29, 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defaced naira notes

 

 


@gregabolo
@Theoasisreport1



Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin I. Emefiele had tweeted @GodwinIEmefiele on December 9, 2022 that “As the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria has to leapfrog into a cashless economy. I urge Nigerians to embrace the various electronic channels available for banking and financial service transactions in Nigeria”.

 

 

 

 

Cashless transaction: Peter Obi donated the sum of 100 million naira to Bishop Shahanan Catholic Church Hospital in July 2021, over 7 years after leaving office as governor of Anambra State.






Painfully, the country is grossly underserved with financial institutions.




Then suddenly, Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) tweeted an extension to the deadline on the return of old currency notes of 200 naira, 500 hundred naira and the 1,000 naira notes to banks from January 31, 2023, to February 10, 2023.










Bank cashiers who had to forgo their weekend rest had initially been called back to work in order to cope with the deadline on the return of the old currency notes on Saturday and Sunday, 28th and 29th of January.



This extension is meant to assist the citizenry in difficult areas without banks to return their cash to the banks without much stress.


Two weeks extension may seem gracious, but there are doubts if it would solve the problem. People would still be left out because the underbanked regions would still find difficulties in returning the cash they have at home. This is so because Nigeria is currently in the throes of a debilitating petrol shortage with costs soaring beyond affordability for a population that largely subsists on less than two dollars a day.


The banks operating in the country are concentrated in large cities, whereas about 60% of the majority of Nigerian citizens reside in the rural areas where banks dread setting up branches.




Take a village in Araya, Isoko South local government that was overrun by flood in October had had the only rural bank branch of Union Bank shut down several years ago. That branch was serving over twenty rural but food growing communities from Isoko South, Ndokwa East and even Ijaw communities in Delta and Bayelsa States.




There are many other parts of Nigeria in Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara, Bornu, Yobe etc that are under the occupation of islamist rebels, bandits and terrorists, depending on the name one wants to address them by. How would the non state actors allow the captive villages to travel with cash from several communities to cities in order to deposit their life savings?

Besides, many communities have no telecommunications network coverage.


Therefore, basic infrastructure has to be in place before Nigeria can truly go cashless and be like the rest of the civilized economies of the world.



Greg Abolo
gregabolo@gmail.com



Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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