CBN: Cashless for rollout in 30 states

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The Nigerian Bankers’ Committee has expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Cashless policy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). It said it had therefore concluded a plan to extend the initiative to other states of the federation.

The Bankers’ Committee consists of all the CEOs of all the deposit money banks (DMBs) in the country.

Speaking on the issue at the Committee’s maiden meeting, Head Shared Services Office of the CBN, Chidi Umeano, said: “We have very interesting statistics to show that there has been a lot of shift really from cash to other forms of payment, we have figures to show that a lot of those activities have gone up trillions of Naira on yearly basis so we think it’s now time to review and restart the cashless.”

He said to this end, the committee agreed on some gradual reintroduction.

He said: “We have 30 states to go. By the first of May we will take on the first 10 states, by first of August, we take the next 10 states and by first of October, we take the last 10 states making it the 30 states for a nationwide rollout.

In taking these decisions, the committee has taken care to make sure that the vulnerable amongst us are well protected. We do know that transactions that happen in the banking sector today in terms of cash withdrawals and deposits are less than 10 per cent nobody is really affected by this we are trying to shift emphasis from cash to other forms of electronic payments and the industry has since expanded and gone out of its way to implement all kinds of channels.”

Also speaking after the meeting, GT Bank CEO, Segun Agbaje warned: “Ponzi schemes are something the central bank and the industry is concerned about and are going to make sure the public don’t fall victim to Ponzi schemes or get rich quickly type of schemes.”

Another topical issue closely related to Ponzi schemes which the bankers discussed he said was “what people refer to as block chains like bitcoin. We have to separate that from virtual currency at the end of the day most central banks in the world are beginning to look at the impact of block chains, bitcoin type currencies and try to understand it better before coming up with regulations either to support it or prevent it.”

 “We are at the very early stages in Nigeria and the central bank that is the regulator has to look at it a bit more closely to understand it and come out with policies and direction on how you will deal block chain type technology,” he said.

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