The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured Nigerians that it will tackle head-on, the challenge of electronic fraud as it moves to extend the cashless policy to some other states from July 1.
The CBN Deputy Governor (Operations), CBN, Mr. Tunde Lemo, gave the assurance when he led a team of the bank’s officials on a courtesy visit to Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, in Awka at the weekend.
The News Agency of Nigeria quoted Lemo to have explained that the initiative was part of the central bank’s efforts to grow the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that the CBN was aware of electronic fraud in the system.
The cashless policy, according to Lemo would reduce robbery, kidnapping, election rigging and even leakage in government’s revenue “because nobody will be cheated by the electronic machine.”
Lemo said: “We are going to deal with fraud head-on. One of the fears of people is that this channel lends itself to fraud. We are quite aware of it and we have learnt the ropes in Lagos by ensuring that we deal with fraud.
“We have a committee in the Bankers’ Committee called Electronic Bankers’ Forum, they meet regularly to deal with fraud and issues around fraud are dealt with. Of course, with the anti-fraud system that the central bank is going to acquire, it will also help us to rein in fraud.
“We are also going to deal with consumer protection because there could be disputes when transactions are conducted. We have already arranged with banks that within two-three days or one week maximum, such disputes should be settled.”
Lemo said the CBN had licensed about 20,000 mobile operators and currently records a monthly volume of about 1.4 million transactions. He said the choice of Anambra state in the second phase of the cashless exercise was because of its commercial value represented by Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka.
The other states are Ogun, Abia, Rivers and Kano states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Anambra is included in the second phase because of its commercial value, particularly the Onitsha and Nnewi axis where a lot of commercial activities are taking place in addition to the capital, of course, which is the seat of government.
“We chose Ogun State because it is already part of the greater Lagos metropolis. After here, we are going to Abia because of Aba and then Port-Harcourt, given the importance of Port-Harcourt within the Niger Delta in the energy sector and finally Kano where we also see a cluster of commercial activities.
“We believe that with these six locations if we add to Lagos, we would have covered over 90 per cent of places where cash is located then the rest can key-in,” he declared.
He identified some challenges which the policy might face in Anambra to include resistance due to prevailing cash culture, lack of point of sale (PoS) at priority locations, distrust in the banking system, techno-fobia and infrastructure lag, among others.
In his response, Obi thanked the CBN team for recognising the strategic role the state was playing in sustenance of Nigeria's economy, adding that the policy would help stabilise the country's growth.
The governor, who promised to lead the drive to cashless society in the state, urged the CBN to make out time to educate the traders in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka.
“I think we should embrace cashless policy but I still want to plead that we in Anambra should join in August instead of July 1, because the traders need more education and sensitisation. It is important that we educate our people on how it will impact positively in their business,” he advised.