CBN Headquarters, Abuja
By Emma Okonji
Seven months after experimenting with the cashless policy in Lagos, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that it would commence the rollout of the second phase in six states by January 2013.
CBN commenced the first phase in January this year, beginning with Lagos State for the pilot scheme of Cashless Nigeria, with a promise to roll out in other states of the federation in no particular order by 2013.
Head, Shared Services Office at the CBN, Mr. Chidi Umeano, who made this known in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State at the weekend, during the 24th National Conference of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), listed the states under the second phase to include Kano, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ogun, Anambra, Rivers and another state in North-east, which is still under consideration.
“For implementation purpose, CBN has commenced the process for the take-off of the second phase of Cashless Nigeria in January 2013, with plans to roll out in six states,” he said.
Commenting on the success of the pilot scheme, Umeano said there were signs of huge success, in spite of the teething challenges experienced.
“The first phase of Cashless Nigeria, though still ongoing, has shown signs of huge success in the area of awareness and acceptance by the people of Lagos, which was the state chosen for the pilot scheme of the Cashless Nigeria
“The initiative was able to deepen further, the use of alternative systems for financial transactions like the Point of Sales (PoS) terminals, use of ATM cards, internet banking and mobile money transfers, among others,” he said.
According to him, the 88,622 PoS terminals that were made available in January this year to enhance Cashless Lagos, had all been successfully deployed, with additional deployment under the pilot phase, bringing the number to over 150,000 PoS terminals already deployed in Lagos State alone.
CBN, he said, licensed six PoS distributors to deploy the terminals across the country, and that more people were beginning to shift from the use of cash to the use of alternative payment channels, resulting in increased volume of financial transactions with alternative payment methods.
“The volume of transactions through alternative payment systems is between N40 to N50 billion daily, with PoS channels alone, recording over N200 million transactions daily, and the volume keeps increasing,” Umeano said.
He, however, admitted that awareness campaign on Cashless Nigeria was not enough and that CBN had concluded arrangements to engage the services of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to further deepen the enlightenment campaign.
In his opening address at the conference, NCS President, Mr. Demola Aladekomo, commended the efforts of CBN, telecoms operators and the licensed mobile money operators for their various roles in driving the cashless initiative in the country.
NCS, he said, was aware of the immense benefits of a cashless economy, hence it specially designed this year’s conference around the initiative, which he said was timely and would certainly benefit Nigerians.