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The new currency….good or bad idea?

30 August 2012, 11:39

The new tide sweeping across the financial sector of the country is taking us back to that era when you walk, and coins jingle in your pocket.

The Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido has dreamt up a new way for bus conductors and road-side kiosks to reject our too-large denomination of N5, 000 or our happily-ringing jingles of coins.

One way or the other, the introduction of the N5, 000 note and conversion of N5, N10 and N20 would significantly affect the people. Be it positively or negatively though a lot of people are inclined to holler negative.

Let’s for a moment look into the future and see what this currency introduction and change can do to us.

Say you enter a bus that would normally charge you N30 for a short journey in Lagos. As you are about to enter the bus, the driver tells you; ‘Hol ya change o… I no get change o!’. You, having lived in Lagos for a long time, know that if you listened to the brown-singlet, torn-jean wearing conductor, will probably not see another bus to your destination, jump on board. You know all this while that you went on that journey with N30 in the past.

As you almost get to your destination, the red-eyed conductor glares at you saying ‘ Ya money there’; you fumble for the money and come up with two coins. N10 and N20 coins. He looks you square in the eye and says ‘ abeg  ya money na N50’. You gasp in surprise and respond ‘ since when?’. He looks defiantly at you without batting an eyelid and responds rudely ‘ you no dey this Naija since? So you wan make I dey carry coins dey waka up and down abi?’

If you are the type that hates embarrassment, you may just mumble your displease with the hike while returning your coins and producing a N50 note. But if you are that kind that holds nothing back and cares less for what people would say, you’d probably flare up and make a hell of a noise; but in the end pay the money.

Okay, I just painted a small picture. It may not go that way but chances are, bus conductors, pure-water sellers, aboki-kiosk sellers and a whole lot more very small scale businesses will begin rejecting the coins. Somehow, it just may end up where the 10kobo, 50kobo, N1 and N2 coins went; extinction.

Now, over to the big bank note N5, 000. It is interesting to know that you can now travel light with a lot of cash to avoid detection by men of the underworld; it is also painful that now corrupt politicians can do away with Ghana-must-go bags and just stuff it in their agbada or like Farcrook; inside the cap.

Now, you say silent prayers when you walk up to the ATM machine to withdraw cash hoping the five thousand naira you want to withdraw doesn’t pop out as a single note. A lot of things run through your head as you punch in your digits. You think, assuming you need to use the money immediately you step out of the vicinity, ‘If N5, 000 shoots out, where do I get to change it?’ If you are the type that shares your money in two just in case pick-pockets take your wallet so that you have some left-over to at least get home; you wonder ‘ If this my wallet is stolen with my N5,000 inside, what would I do?’.

Yes, Economists who know the pros and cons of this new introduction can state how this initiative will impact the nation and its economy but the common person on the street just wants to find out how it affects them directly. The above mentioned scenarios are bound to spring up with this introduction.

Someone said it would encourage cashless transactions in the country and I just laughed. It may do that theoretically but let us face the reality in our country. How many pepper sellers have PoS machines?

Will that aboki put up any such machine to enable cashless transaction? How many of the PoS machines disbursed actually works?

If you eventually decide to go with mobile banking, how sure are you that the network will be available when you need it?

I am not an Economist and may be raising points that already have ways around them, but I think this move by the CBN is not what we need right now in the country.

Imagine someone earning N18, 000 monthly collecting less than ten notes at the end of the day. On the other hand, don’t you think that the N20-collecting policemen will up their bribes to N50?

Well, just asking!

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