MAN Kicks Against Cashless Policy, Says It Will Negatively Affect MSMEs, Employment Generation

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, has expressed concerns over the planned implementation of the cashless policy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

The association stated that the new policy, which is expected to kick off in 2020, will impact negatively on micro, small, and medium enterprises who drive the growth of the economy and employment generation.

Recall that the CBN had in a circular, directed Deposit Money Banks, DMBs to charge on deposits, 3 percent processing fees for individual accounts, withdrawals in excess of N500,000.00 and 5 percent for Corporate accounts withdrawal in excess of N3 million.

The charges are in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals.

The apex bank equally introduced processing fees for cash lodgments of 2 percent above N500,000.00 for individual accounts and 3 percent for lodgment above N3 million for Corporate accounts.

In a statement signed by its Director-General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, MAN advised that other options should be adopted to the approach to the policy.

He noted that there was no proper consultation before the policy was adopted as it was not presented to stakeholders for their input.

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The Director-General, faulted the CBN’s insistence that the adoption of the new regime of charges was the only way to achieve the desired cashless economy insisting that there were other viable options.

He said: “Even though one may agree with the CBN Governor that it is in the public interest to promote an efficient payment system via the cashless policy, there is need to examine the route you choose to achieve that objective, and I think this is the crux of the matter and appears to be a recurring decimal in the administration of our monetary policy interventions.

“Apart from the fact that the policy at inception, was put in place without consultations, sensitization, explanation or rationale for its introduction; the policy was presented as the ONLY way to achieve the much-desired cashless or less-cash economy.

“The explanation given later was more of empathizing with the banking public for the “inevitable hardship” the latest cashless policy would impose on them.

“It would also appear that the applicable percentages did not take cognizance of the existing and long-standing charges on withdrawals.

“There is clearly more than one road to the market. In this instance, the CBN has at least two options to achieve the latest progression towards the desired cashless economy; to penalize non-compliance or to incentivize compliance. It would appear that the CBN has chosen the former. What I mean is that rather than introduce gains for those who embrace cashless transactions, it has elected to punish those who have not, including those operating in genuinely large cash-driven economic activities.

“There is also a huge concern over the inadequacy of the needed cashless economy infrastructure, which the Money Deposit Banks are not doing enough to upscale or do so at a disproportionate additional cost to the users.

“MAN, therefore, urges the leadership of the CBN to think through other available options to achieve its cashless policy scheduled to be fully implemented throughout the country from March 31, 2020, while paying close attention to the use of the carrot rather than the stick approach.”