By Chiemelie Ezeobi
The Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE), a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), has intensified calls to reposition the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry to boost the cashless economy scheme.
Making the disclosure at its 2012 Fellows Conference, NSChE National President, Dr. John Erinne, said the topic was germane in light of the recent cashless economy scheme the nation wants to adopt.
According to Erinne, the theme of the conference ‘Re-positioning ICT in an Era of Cashless Economy’ was chosen to reflect the current policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with a view to educate the members of the society on the inherent advantages.
He said, “Chemical engineering is indeed a prime driver in the chemical process industry sector which is essentially involved in processing and conversion of many primary materials into vitally required immediate and end products.
“Undoubtedly, the society we are operating in has become mordernised. That is why the theme for this year’s conference is no less pulsating and topical. So the society has to work in line with best practices in order to grow.
“Basically, this conference was designed to help the industry thrive and the end result being to make the industry contribute its own quota towards the growth of the country.”
Director, Banking and Payment Systems, CBN, Mr. Oladipupo Fatokun, who was the chairman of the occasion, lauded the society for taking up the gauntlet to educate its members on the need to subscribe to the cashless scheme.
The chairman who was represented by Deputy Director, CBN, Alhaji Abubakar Isa, added that the act of the society would long a long way to help the CBN in propagating its policy.
He said, “We always try to bring out policies that are consistent with international best practices. So if we have fellows like you promoting such a policy, in the long run, it would only make our job easier.”
Speaking on the challenges of operating a cashless society, the Chief Execuitve Officer of E-Tranzact, Mr.Valentine Obi, said despite the propagation of the cashless economy, about 80 per cent of transaction is still in cash.
Obi, who was represented by the Executive Director, E-Tranzact, Mr. Sullivan Akala, said there was however a gradual migration to ATMs, POS and internet banking.
He said although the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has started in the right direction, the POS, ATM, mobile banking and other medium have to dramatically expand to 40 per cent of the whole economy before any meaningful effect can be achieved.
He said, “The cost of transacting with cash has consistently impacted the economy negatively. According to CBN data, the direct cost of cash is estimated to about N192 billion in 2012.
“Cashless Lagos is part of a broader objective of the CBN and banker’s committee to create a more efficient financial system in Nigeria thus reducing cost to 30 per cent,” he added.
Listing some of the impediments of the cashless system as epileptic power supply, prevalence of e-fraud/consumer protection, infrastructural deficit, religious beliefs and illiteracy level amongst others, he added that the cashless system would enable great financial inclusions.