The Central Bank of Nigeria is to to organize a sensitization programme for the business community in Anambra State, especially critical stakeholders in Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi to familiarize them with the Bank’s cashless policy. Anambra is among the six states chosen by the CBN across the country for the first phase of the cashless policy. The others are Abia, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and Kano. Collectively these states account for about 90 percent of commerce and cash deposits in the country.
Though the cashless policy was initially slated to take off on July 1 2013, it was postponed to October 1 2013, apparently to enable the apex bank to carry out more enlightenment programme.
The CBN agreed to carry out the sensitization programme in the state following a request by the state governor, Peter Obi. During an interactive session between officials of the apex bank, which included Tunde Lemo, the CBN Deputy Governor (Operations) and members of the Anambra State Executive Council, Governor Peter Obi requested for a sensitization programme for residents of the state before the take-off of the cashless policy. Lemo promised to personally lead the sensitization team to Onitsha, saying that the cashless policy would help checkmate the menace of kidnapping in the state and leakages in government revenue.
The new policy is part of the moves by the CBN to stabilize the economy through managing the risks and threats that often arise from large movements of cash.
When the policy kicks off, cash withdrawals above N3000, 000 would attract a 3 per cent surcharge, while those above N3 million would come with a surcharge of five percent. Lemo said the CBN would work with the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and mobile telephone operators to ensure effective connectivity once the policy takes off.
Governor Obi recognized the strategic importance of the cashless policy but said its introduction appeared rather too sudden. “I think we should embrace the cashless policy, but I still want to plead that we in Anambra should be given more time because the traders need more education and sensitisation concerning the new policy,” the governor said.
Many traders in the state suspect that the cashless policy could be a ploy by the government to ‘code’ their accounts. Some also fear that it would slow down their businesses as trading tends to be a ‘cash and carry’ affair. They are also concerned that even with the installation of machines that could accept credit and debit cards, the epileptic nature of power supply in the country could undermine the whole project.