The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has defended the indefinite suspension in the nationwide roll-out of its cashless policy.
The shift has been met with insinuations of confusion and uncertainty causing stakeholders in the nation’s banking sector to question the preparedness of the CBN to regulate the cashless policy across the nation.
According to the CBN’s original timetable for the introduction of the cashless policy, the pilot scheme which was launched in Lagos in 2012 was expected to be extended to other states in January 2013. But now it has suspended the extension of the cashless policy to the remaining 35 states including the federal capital city of Abuja.
Ugo Okorafor, CBN spokesman, said the decision to suspend the plan hinged on the need for the apex bank to fix the observed bottlenecks identified in the Lagos pilot scheme.
“For now, the CBN has suspended the plan to introduce the policy to other states next year. The test run we did in Lagos showed some problems in the implementation. For instance, people complained there were not enough POS and ATM machines, which we also noticed. The problem of awareness was also there as some people said they were not well informed about the policy,” he said.
He also mentioned the peculiar challenges of other states that do not have enough ATM machines and other necessary infrastructures for the smooth implementation of the cashless policy.
Okorafor added: “There are some states that do not have enough banks and ATM machines like Lagos and provisions have to be made for the policy to work in those places. It will also afford the banks to upgrade their systems for effective operation of the policy.
“So when we are convinced those things have been put in place, it will be extended to other states.”