Cashless policy: Businesses express worry

Business owners and operators in the informal sector of the economy have expressed concern over the fate of small businesses, saying the implementation of the cashless policy as announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which has imposed charges on deposits and withdrawals on banks’ customers.

Speaking with a cross-section of some entrepreneurs over the weekend, they said the new policy regime by the apex bank was tantamount to extortion.

Nelson Ejiofor, who owns a chain of stores that deals on paints and building materials in Lagos, said, the policy was not well thought out.

According to him, the whole ideal of cashless policy, however, noble, was now being eroded with the stringent measures being introduced by the CBN.

“Initially, when they introduced the policy, I was all for it. But with the additional cost it will now impose on businesses, especially SMEs, I don’t think it is in order.”

Ejiofor, who said, he has since put a point of sales (POS) payment in place in some of his stores, however, noted that due to poor technology interface there are times customers are unable to make payment through POS, and have to resort to paying in cash.

Echoing similar sentiments, Miss. Asabe Mikail, who is a major distributor with some of telecommunication accessories’ companies, said the policy didn’t have consideration for traders.

“The most annoying thing is that even in the so-called cashless transactions, these transactions attract charges too, even the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) transactions attract charges, so is it not extortion?” she queried.

It would be recalled that the apex bank had through a circular on Sept. 17 stated that from Sept. 18 transactions will attract three per cent processing fees for withdrawal and two per cent processing fees for lodgement of amounts above N500, 000 for individual and N3million for corporate accounts with six pilot states including the FCT, namely: Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra and Rivers states, while the nationwide implementation of the cashless policy will begin by March 2020.

It is however instructive to note that the lower chamber of the National Assembly had on Thursday, urged the CBN to halt the implementation of the charges on deposit and withdrawals.

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