Naira Re-design: Why FG must allow more time for Nigerians to embrace cashless policy

In November 23, 2022, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari launched the newly re-designed N200, N500 and N1000 denominations of the country’s bank notes.

The newly printed notes aforementioned were to be used side by side with the Old same notes before seizing to be a legal tender on January 31 2023.

However, after the 31, January deadline, Nigerian citizens were disappointed with the shortage of the new banknotes after helplessly depositing the old notes as directed by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) through the country’s highest financial institution, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Since then, there have been series of theories with some insinuating that the policy was targeted at political office seekers to stop them from using cash to buy votes and many others. There were complaints of hardship been experienced due to the shortage of cash, culminating to unscrupulous citizens hoarding the new banknotes and be selling it to unsuspecting members of the public who fall prey while making effort to make ends meet. Many Points of Sell (POS) operators were rendered jobless.

Sadly enough, the policy attracted wide range of protests, some violent, with perhaps, lost of lives and property. Some Banks were set ablaze by angered Nigerians in some towns. Some state Governments went to supreme court to challenge the decision of the CBN and the court directed that the deadline be extended. It prompted president Muhammadu Buhari to address the country during which he directed that the old N200 notes be recirculated. A lot has happened which time shall not permit one to mention all.

What Nigerians need to know is, in every new policy, there comes challenges of which is expected to be addressed and not to abandoned such policy. Indeed, the currency re-design policy has really help in no small measure towards curtailing the activities of kidnappers, banditry, robbery and what have you. Before the currency re-design policy, act of kidnapping was in its highest ebb where both individuals, organizations or governments were forced to negotiate with criminals to have kidnapped victims freed.

Before the policy, many business men and women carry cash in bags with the attendant risk of losing it to armed robbers. Infact, Nigerians can testify that the easiest way of doing business with less stress is through cashless transaction.

However, a lot need to be done by the federal government the rescue Nigerians from the hardship been faced as a result of the Naira re-design as a result of poor network.

Many Nigerians have suffered frustrations due to network failure while trying to do transaction, such issues has crippled many businesses and tendered many people jobless. Many have suffered one form of heart attack or the other after performing unsuccessful e-transfer, get debited while the recipient could not received credit alert and the money hanged for many days without been reversed.

To address these challenges, there is the need for the Nigerian government to approach the policy holistically, ensure proper enlightenment of the masses, strengthen the country’s internet network for easy transaction and make opening of bank account so easy, such that all Nigerians can posses bank account.

There’s also the need to address illiteracy among Nigerians to be able to know much about figures. As it is, many people, especially in the rural areas who do not know how to read or write are at mercy of fraudsters who may transfer N100,000.00 and claim to have transfered 10,000,000.00 because they don’t know the figures.

For the country to succeed in the smooth implementation of the current economic policy, a lot need to be done and a lot of time need to be given. The FG cannot achieve the aim with the current approach it is deploying but will end up complicating the tensed financial situation bedeviling the masses.

Muhibbat Dalhat Hassan, a student from the department of Mass Communication, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi

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