Individuals and corporate bodies from the larger society had raised a lot of controversial issues a few months ago when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Lamido Sanusi proposed the daily limit of cash withdrawals from banks. His presentation and defense that backed this proposed CBN policy was quite apt the day he appeared before the members of the lower legislative chamber (the Federal House of Representatives). The major point of argument he tabled/dwelt upon, centered on the attractiveness and the merits of cutting down the high costs of cash handling, management and maintenance (cost of minting currencies) alongside, the reduction of cash robberies and other related financial crimes (like money laundering) associated with inefficient monitoring of physical cash movements; that could not be possibly captured electronically.
However, the odds militating against the effective running of a cashless system of banking in our society, linked to the overwhelming illiteracy predominantly manifested in our financial circles shall not deter us from recognizing ‘efficiency’ and ‘productivity’ as the two key advantages we ought to embrace (very realistically) as we transform the economy through a cashless system. These odds as identified, are very weighty factors that would not just be easily erased from the system presently because; it will definitely require some time to gradually fizzle out from the system. A clear example is illiteracy. Our rural men & women in the rural areas/villages (without education) can definitely not cope so easily or find it funny to transact any business (buying & selling) or commute/transport themselves by public mass transits through electronically coded payments with the swiping of their uploaded/funded credit cards (if issued with one) because of their poor level of education. In a situation they have an option to seek assistance from a wrong hand, they’ll be vulnerable to such dupes who will heartlessly defraud them & sap their available credits on the cards. Another equally important social factor/vice in the land that needs to be erased/wiped out little by little from the system (for this to work) is dishonesty. Insincerity or dishonesty breeds distrust because, a fraudulent and unscrupulous person will intentionally go ahead to issue dud cheques to his targeted, unsuspecting prospective victims and disappear thereafter without concrete & convincing clues to trace such person; should there be any default after a transaction. This singular reason is the major fear and reason why big time traders/businessmen are vehemently opposing the CBN governor’s daily limit for cash withdrawals. Another observation made is that, such defaults as a result of dishonesty distort the free working /flow of accurate financial records.
The credit card system & operations open a window of improved efficient economic financial flow with the least headache and a proper tracking of cash flows in the system. It is very convenient at all times and for all transactions, and also reduces waste of resources both for the consumers on one part and the government on the other part. It promotes efficiency in the economic services due to the reduced time of the entire transaction compared with deals that involve counting of currencies in the banks for several hours. Risks & logistics attached in cash movements with respect to violent robbery attacks are almost wiped out in a cashless system. There is this observation making rounds that, Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) has drastically reduced the issue of hoodlums that pick pockets at the motor parks and many other public gatherings.
In the developed economies where cashless financial operations work well, it normally points to near zero tendencies and chances for perpetration of fraudulent financial acts of any sort in the economy. This is made possible by the proper tracking of all transactions (in & out) captured online real time electronically because; it is traceable whenever possible. As a matter of fact, every daily financial transaction is better done electronically because, it is safe, it is convenient, it is less time consuming, it efficiently and effectively checks fraudulent tendencies in all sectors of the economy. Its accuracy makes it easier for the government to conveniently verify or collate any required specific data, based on the fact that every aspect of human activities in the system is affected daily (i.e. 100% daily human traffic in the system is involved in one way or the other).
This aspect of data collection with its high precision information wise makes the future projections and the forecasts in a national planning to be done with accuracy and a very high assurance level statistically, especially when it has been studied over a given period. In summary, a projected national plan and successful economic growth therefore, can only bear fruitful results with ease for any government that operates or runs a cashless economy.