Cashless economy: Govts tasked on provision of adequate electricity, telecomms infrastructures

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An economist, Dr Chiwuike Uba, has urged Federal and state governments to invest in the provision of stable electricity and telecommunication infrastructure for Nigerians to maximize the gains of a cashless economy.

“Without the provision of these infrastructures, Nigerians and indeed the country will find it hard to reap enormous benefits from the cashless economy as observed in developed countries,” Uba, Board Chairman of Amaka Chiwuike-Uba Foundation (ACUF), said.

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He spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Sunday on the sidelines of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) redesign of the naira, limiting cash withdrawal and encouraging electronic/cashless payment systems.

Uba, who is the Lead Researcher of Afri-Heriatge, an economic-political research and analytic institution, said that the infrastructures necessary to effectively implement the policy, “are not currently in place in an adequate manner”.

The economist noted that in most cases, it takes months for banks to solve and reverse failed transactions due to very poor banking networks and inter-bank connectivity issues.

According to him, the redesign of the naira and cash withdrawal limits are, without any doubt, good policies geared towards the migration of transactions from physical money to electronic money.

He noted that the short transitional period for the redesigning of the currency, while not the best strategy, could help prevent asset bubbles by slowing the flow of black money into the sector.

He said: “If well managed, digital and electronic transactions will create a better audit trail for tax, accounting and security.

“The infrastructures and platform necessary to effectively and efficiently implement the policy are not currently in place in an adequate manner.

“Market frictions and distortions and disruptions to electronic banking services (poor banking networks, unreliable electricity and telecommunications services) have not been addressed.”

The economist called on the CBN, banks and their agents to get involved in an immediate, aggressive and wide-spread awareness and education on the cashless policy and its enormous gains in rural localities in the country.

“This is imperative given the large and growing army of illiterates in Nigeria, appropriate awareness and education should have preceded the launch and implementation of the policy,” he added.

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