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Nigeria not ready for Cashless Society





THE usual hustle and bustle of the recently-concluded Yuletide season came with the harsh reality of the shortage of cash in Nigerian banks.

This was evidenced by the unusually long queues at the ATMs with many of them not being functional, as well as the inundation of banks by customers who require cash to meet their needs. It would, however, seem that the impact of the cash shortage was more felt by individuals and corporations who required large sums of money in cash to either fulfil personal needs or for corporate social responsibility.

Though the Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier noted, in November 2021, that N3.15 trillion cash was in circulation as against the N2.7 trillion reported in November 2020, the reverse would seem the case as a majority of customers with fairly large transactions have been reported as unable to successfully carry out their transactions. Reportedly, a customer who recently visited a Nigerian bank to make a cash withdrawal was informed that the bank did not have the cash amount sought to be withdrawn. I personally experienced a similar situation when my request for withdrawal of a certain amount of money could not be granted.

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.










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