Awka - The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured Nigerians that it would tackle head-on the challenges of electronic fraud in its current cash-less policy.
The CBN Deputy Governor in charge of Operations, Tunde Lemo, gave the assurance when he led a team of the bank’s officials on a courtesy visit to Gov. Peter Obi in Awka on Thursday.
Lemo, who explained that the exercise was part of the policies of the bank to stabilise the country's GDP, said that the institution was aware of electronic fraud in the system.
According to him, there are various gains of the policy apart from checking corruption, the cash-less policy is to meet the vision 2020:20, to modernise payment system, to also help improve the effectiveness of monetary policy.
He said that the policy would reduce robbery, kidnapping, election rigging and even leakage in government revenue “because nobody will be cheated by the electronic machine”.
“We are going to deal with fraud head-on. One of the fears of people is that this channel lends itself to fraud. We are quite aware of it and we have learnt the ropes in Lagos by ensuring that we deal with fraud.
“We had a committee of the bankers’ committee called Electronic Bankers Forum, they meet regularly to deal with fraud and issues around fraud are dealt with.
“Of course, with the anti-fraud system that the Central Bank is going to acquire, it will also help us to reign in fraud.
“We are also going to deal with consumer protection because there could be disputes when transactions are conducted. We have already arranged with banks that within two-three days, one week maximum, such disputes should be settled.’’
Lemo said that the apex bank had lisenced about 20 000 mobile operators and currently doing a monthly volume of about 1.4 million in transaction totaling close to N10 billion.
He said that the choice of Anambra in the second phase of the cash-less exercise was because of its commercial value represented by Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka.
“Anambra is included in the second phase because of its commercial value, particularly the Onitsha and Nnewi axis where a lot of commercial activities are taking place in addition to the capital, of course, which is the seat of government.
“We chose Ogun State because it is already part of the greater Lagos metropolis.
“After here, we are going to Abia because of Aba and then Port-Harcourt, given the importance of Port-Harcourt within the Niger Delta in the energy sector and finally Kano where we also see a cluster of commercial activities.
“We believe that with these six locations if we add to Lagos, we would have covered over 90 per cent of places where cash is located then the rest can key-in. ’’
Lemo said that under the cash-less policy, individuals would only be allowed to make a maximum daily cash withdrawal of N500 000 from their accounts, while corporate bodies would be entitled to make a daily maximum cash withdrawal of N3 million only.
He identified the challenges which the policy might face in Anambra to include resistance due to prevailing cash culture, lack of POS at priority locations, distrust in the banking system, techno-fobia and infrastructure lag, among others.
Responding, Gov. Obi thanked the CBN team for recognising the strategic role the state was playing in sustenance of Nigeria's economy, adding that the policy would help stabilise the country's growth.
He, however, identified some bottlenecks in the proposed take-off of the policy in the state, noting that the transformation was sudden.
The governor, who promised to lead the drive, pleaded with CBN to make out time to return and educate the traders in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka.
Obi said he would need extra time to educate the people, adding that many Anambra businessmen had lost their money in failed banks, adding that 90 per cent of Onitsha traders still transact business in cash.
“I think we should embrace cashless policy but I still want to plead that we in Anambra should join in August instead of July 1, because the traders need more education and sensitisation.
“It is important that we educate our people on how it will impact positively in their business. On how they transact their business because it will be a win-win for them. Today, they lose money to kidnappers, armed robbery and other things.
“But if they know this can work, it is guaranteed, it is effective, efficient, they will embrace it.’’