A wicked policy and its effects

    By Franklyn Akinyosoye 

    Nigerians!! Suddenly all the banking apps are working perfectly. President Muhammadu Buhari, Godwin Emefielle and a lot of Nigerians who felt the ill planned and executed cashless policy would solve our rigging mentality or vote buying knack, hope you have learnt that the policy could not achieve that aim but have achieved the counter productive aim which is to crumble businesses and dent the economy even further. 

    The truth is that, the elite or politicians targeted are always ahead because of their resources and informants everywhere. While the CBN gov was targeting they were busy mopping, whilst the masses were waiting for the last minutes. 

    Now check what has happened to the POS industry?  In April of 2022 our research showed there were about 1.9m POS agents in Nigeria and the only succour for the unbanked which was about 40% of Nigerians. 

    Unemployment rate in Nigeria as at 2022 was about 10% and the number of the unemployed was about 23m, therefore we can say that 2m being about 10% of 23m is what the cashless now has made jobless again. This is different from the over 1000 BDCs that have been made business less in the last 24 months. 

    One of the major reasons for not having a huge turnout for election as envisaged was because of the cashless policy as people in the same space were fed up with the somersaulting economic policies that have trailed this regime from day one. 

    This CBN Governor will go down in history as one who worked assiduously to bring Buhari’s regime down and almost made APC to loose the election because people were fed up with the hardship the regime brought on Nigerians, especially business men and women. 

    It is a tragedy, that a CBN Governor (CBNG) will embark on cashless policy and currency redesign at the same time without first finding out the impact on social economic activity of the populace and the inimical impact it will have on the economy even when the laws of the CBN asked for appropriate time for such. 

    It is foolhardy to embark on such a solo run without first sitting down with the managers of the economy, in the person of the Minister of Finance, (who anchors the fiscal side) who claimed ignorance and immediately showed her disapproval until she was hushed by power that be, otherwise why did she keep quiet after the first outburst?.

    This policy has done more damage than a lot of us know, there is a weak relationship between the banks and their customers as we speak. There were buildings burnt and properties destroyed, some died some resigned, sine have up. There are more people who have closed their accounts than any time in the history of this country.

    There are so many businesses that have been finally buried due to this policy, some who were dying slowly and looking for ways and means have finally been destroyed, banks infrastructure have suddenly been over stretched and torgued by this unfriendly policy and this might result in redundancy and retrenchment very soon. 

    Banks these days are looking for ways and means to reduce staff and emeifele just gave them the easy way out. It has been proven by emperical facts some of which yours truly participated in, that a working Nigerian contributes to the livelihood of an average of 3 other Nigerians. 

    If we are looking at 2m POS agents impacting indirectly other 3 lives, that’s about 6m other Nigerians that have been thrown into lower economic or poverty strata because of a good but badly implemented policy from a person that should know better but blinded by hatred for his colleagues in the elitist level who were going for a position he was eyeing and felt he was better accentuated to. 

    This is bad and must be condemned. Thanks to the Supreme court that have given a haralded judgement if the President whom the court called despotic will accent to. It is a call to all public office holder to always carryout sensitivity analysis at first or better still impact assessment before embarking on such policy…After all these dogo turenchi, I will like to make some suggestions to help alleviate the impact of this mistake.

    The way forward :
    1. Immediately direct that the old and new naira notes be made legal tender till December as directed by the supreme court. 
    2. Gradually but sensibly withdraw the old cash and with it intelligence ease more new currency into the system the way other more civilized and advanced clime do. 
    3. Encourage all POS agents to come out and do their businesses again and promise they will not be arrested. 
    4. Make the banks through moral suation give them incentives to cushion the effect of the bad policies in the last few weeks.
    5. Go on a massive campaign to create unprecedented awareness for the redesigned Naira and cashless policy for the next 6 months.
    6. Print more notes, as 400b will not be enough for 220m people apart from another 3m or so foreigners who trade with our money at the borders.

    7. Come out with grants of at least 20,000 naira for only the unbanked and insist they open an account to get such grants and plan for such every year.  Target at least 1m every year. Take such funds from the transfer charges of the commercial banks without them increasing their charges. 

    8. Invest in payment structures or infrastructure and encourage the banks to do the same. In short mandate all banks, commercial, mortgage, merchant and especially microfinance banks to strengthen their payment infrastructure. Mandatory to meet the demand of Nigerians. 
    9. CBN Governor should apologize to Nigerians and then resign and put himself forward for prosecution.

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