CASHLESS POLICY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH EVIDENCE FROM NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

                                     INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background to the Study

As at today, Nigeria occupies the unenviable position of number one country in Africa with largest number of people with no access to financial services. According to data compiled by Micro Finance Information Exchange (MIX) last year, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo were found to have the largest gaps between populations living in poverty and those with no access to financial services-80 million in Nigeria and 48 million in the Congo. Besides, managing the few that have access to the banks is said to cost banks a huge amount of money with cash management taken a large chunk of the expenses. Also, the cost of printing new bank notes as a result of frequent handling is said to cost the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) terrifying amount annually. To address this and many other issues facing the banks and the nation’s economy the CBN, introduced the cashless economic policy. The initiative is to expand the horizon of banking and make financial services reachable to “Banking adults” at an affordable cost. According to CBN, (2011) a large number of Nigeria adults do not enjoy bank services, and this has serious economic and developmental implications. The overall goal of the cashless policy is to reduce adult exclusion rate from 46.3% in 2012 to 20% in 2020. According to CBN, (2012) financial inclusion is a development when adults have easy access to a broad range of formal financial services that meet their needs and are provided at affordable cost.

        Omotunde et al (2013) defined cashless economy an economic state where transaction can be done without actually holding raw cash as a means of transaction but rather with the use of credit or debit card payment for goods and services. Ejiro (2012) in Omotunde et al (2013) posits that cashless economy policy initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is a move to improve the financial terrain but in the long run sustainability of the policy will be a function of endorsement and compliance by end-users. According to Tunde Lemon, the Deputy Governor of CBN, the CBN cash policy stipulates a daily cumulative limit of N150, 000 and N1, 000, 000 on free cash withdrawals and lodgments by individual and corporate customers respectively in the Lagos state with effect from March 30, 2012. Service fee will be charged on individuals and organizations that make cash transactions above the cumulative limits. Omotunde et al (2013) further clarified that the policy through the advanced use of information technology facilitates fund transfer, thereby reducing time wasted in Bank(s). e implementation of cashless policy and hence, the growth of cashless economy in Nigeria.

According to these scholars the introduction of the implementation of cashless policy began in Lagos State, Nigeria. Why Lagos? According to Central Bank of Nigeria (2011) Lagos state accounted for 85% of POS and 66% of cheques transaction in Nigeria. Cashless economy helps to reduce the amount of raw cash circulating in the Nigerian economy and also helps to encourage more electronic-based transaction. The policy is expected to reduce cost incurred in maintaining cash-based economy by 90% upon its full implementation in Nigeria (CBN, (2012). This study aims to investigate cashless policy and economic growth evidence from Nigeria      .

1.2   Statement of the Problem

The introduction of the cashless policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria was aimed at aiding monetary policy as a technique of economic management to bring about sustainable economic growth and development This introduction is not fully operational due to high rate of illiteracy, inadequate sensitization/education of citizens on the benefits of the cashless policy, and inadequate logistics (such as the provision of internet connections in commercial areas, computers and Point on Sale (POS) machines). Apart from the physical challenges, economic data and indicators are not fully available and reliable. Attempting to identify the effect of the cashless policy on the Nigerian poses a greater challenge as only few monetary and macroeconomic indicators can be found in relation to this. Countless numbers of scholars have attempted to identify the effect of cashless policy or e-banking. However, it is evident that few studies provided a comprehensive assessment of cashless policy and its impacts on the economy of developing countries like Nigeria. Most do not pay proper attention to the economic importance of this while some ignore its negative implications. This is often due to unavailability or unreliable panel data for monetary and macroeconomic indicators. This study focuses on Nigerian economy it is however difficult to translate cashless studies from one country to another.

1.3   Research Objectives

The general objective or main objective of this study is to investigate the effect cashless policy and economic growth evidence from Nigeria. The specific objectives are:

i)             To study the economic impact of cashless policy in Nigeria

ii)           To examine the reasons for the adoption of cashless policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

iii)         To determine the various banking channels that encourage cashless policy in Nigeria.

iv)         To identify the challenges of cashless policy in Nigeria.

1.4   Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i)             What are the economic impacts of cashless policy in Nigeria?

ii)           What are the reasons for the adoption of cashless policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria?

iii)         What are the various banking channels that encourage cashless policy in Nigeria?

iv)         What are the challenges of cashless policy in Nigeria?

1.5   Significance of the Study      

This study will contribute to understanding the challenges faced with cashless policy and its adoption by Nigerians. The study also contributes to theory by providing information on various theories on economic development through the banking industry as well as the business sector as a whole which adds more value. The information contained in this report will also be of use in providing empirical evidence on the impact of cashless policy and economic growth. It will be of use to other studies within the banking sector.

1.6   Scope of the Study

This research is on the effect of cashless policy and economic growth. This study will be therefore carried out among bankers, business owners and individuals who use electronic banking in Nigeria.

1.7   Limitation of the Study

This study entailed investigation into a variety of issues to be able to achieve a comprehensive study of the problems; a lot of constraint were encountered in form of data collection, lack of adequate information from the respondents. The main limitation of this survey was the difficulty in getting accurate information from the bank employees as most of them were busy with their work schedules ad were unwilling to give adequate information about their job.

1.8   Definition of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Cashless economy: an economic state whereby financial transactions are not conducted with money in the form of physical banknotes or coins, but rather through the transfer of digital information (usually an electronic representation of money) between the transacting parties.

Electronic banking: it means 24-hour access to cash through an automated teller machine (ATM) or Direct Deposit of paychecks into checking or savings accounts. But electronic banking involves many different types of transactions, rights, responsibilities — and sometimes, fees.

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