This is not how it is done in other progressive countries of the world where there are other payment options like; Debit and Credit Cards, Bank Transfers, Bank Direct Debits, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), and even Mobile Phone Money.
There is no denying the fact that the Nigerian monetary system was in the pre-colonial era negatively driven by a variety of items that cut across cowries, manila, beads, bottles, and salt as means of exchange amongst others. As a result of the convoluted cumbersomeness that arose therefrom, the landscape of the consumer market and social circle was inconveniently disrupted.
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Given the drawbacks of barter systems which were no doubt a lack of double coincidence of wants, lack of a common measure of value, the indivisibility of certain goods, and difficulty in making deferred payments as well as difficulty in storing value,the first major currency was issuedsequel to the colonial ordinance of 1880. The units of coins managed then by the Bank of England were one shilling, one penny, 1/2 penny, and 1/10 penny and were distributed by a private bank, the Bank for British West Africa till 1912.
Sequel to the decision by the government to change from metric to decimal, the name of the Nigerian currency was changed in January 1973. The major unit of currency which used to be £1 ceased to exist and the one naira which was equivalent to ten shillings became the major unit, while the minor unit was called the kobo; a hundred of which made one naira.
At this juncture, it is expedient to say that since then that the Nigerian monetary landscape has witnessed changes made to the naira banknotes at one point or the other.
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It is expedient to recall in this context that the changes occurred on 11th February 1977, 2nd July 1979, April 1984, December 1999, November 2000, April 2001, October 2005, February 2007, and September 2009 respectively.
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Also, it is germane to recall that the CBN, as part of its contribution towards the celebration of the nation’s 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence and 100 years of its existence as a nation, issued the ₦50 Commemorative polymer banknote on 29th September 2010; and the N100 Commemorative banknote on 19th December 2014 respectively.
Unarguably to entrench a reliable and trusted medium of exchange that will serve as a transitional instrument to settle the trade of products and services among market participants, the CBN with the backing of the federal government in the bid to be one of the best 20 economies before the year 2020, commenced the process of changing to a cash-less economy by January 2012. The main reason for the policy was to reduce the amount of Naira notes and coins (Cash) used for business but not to eliminate cash usage.
In its effort to persuade Nigerians concerning its intention to migrate the monetary system to cashless, the CBN said, “Our economy uses too much cash for transactions for goods and services, especially for buying and selling. This is not how it is done in other progressive countries of the world where there are other payment options like; Debit and Credit Cards, Bank Transfers, Bank Direct Debits, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), and even Mobile Phone Money. These achievements have been brought about by the changing needs of their people, competition among banks, and other companies, including changes in technology. Our major focus is to increase the volume of all available payment instruments in Nigeria.
“There is therefore a need to enlighten the public to choose other available payment options instead of the excessive reliance on cash for transactions. This will promote end-to-end electronic payments in Nigeria.
At this juncture, it is germane to say that in as much as the method of payments under a cashless monetary system may not be 100 percent functional, it is expedient in this context to say that for the ongoing cashless policy that is under implementation to be a success, the CBN should ensure that it puts more new notes into circulation, call POS operators to order, preferably through sanction, as they have resorted to sheer profiteering. In a similar vein, the leadership of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), through its constituted disciplinary committee, should delist any of its members caught selling banknotes to willing buyers even as the leadership of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN) is in this context urged to apply the same disciplinary measure to any of its members working in the banking sector of the economy.
Added to the forgoing advices, efforts should be made by banks to collectively improve the quality of their network service as such move will increase the efficiency and reliability of the electronic payment system. The reason for the foregoing cannot be farfetched as there have been unprecedented network failure in the course of transactions particularly since the CBN and the federal government commenced the implementation of the cashless policy.
Given the foregoing, it is germane to say that since Nigeria’s monetary system have evolved from bartering to banknotes, and now to cashless mode of payment, it is expedient it well implemented.