The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Monday, met with officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and senior executives of banks in the state to proffer a lasting solution to the cash crunch in the state and country.
Obaseki, while addressing journalists after the closed-door meeting at the Government House, Benin City, said he is in support of the Federal Government’s cashless policy but urged for mechanisms to make the process seamless.
He said, “Today, I invited senior management of banks in the State and the Central Bank of Nigeria to meet with the government as we are concerned about the plight and sufferings of Edo people on the inability to get cash from the banking system in the State.
“After much deliberation, we have come to the following resolution that the policy of moving Nigeria’s economy to a cashless one should be encouraged as it’s the best thing for our banking system.
“The Edo State Government doesn’t have any problem with the Federal Government’s policy to move the nation’s economy to a cashless one.
“I, however, urge the Federal Government to do this painlessly and seamlessly as possible and improve on communication to reduce the fear of the people,” Obaseki charged.
Reassuring the government’s commitment to helping end the naira crunch in the state, the governor urged Edo people to make payments using alternative means through transfers or the use of USSD codes.
Obaseki noted, “We will release names of POS operators in the State. They are not only to pay you cash but also help you with payment through transfer.
“The Edo State Government has launched its residency identity card which gives you the capacity to make payments. We are working closely with the CBN, and by next week, we will start with the full rollout to help Edo residents.
“We have to emphasize to citizens that they don’t need to move around with cash unlike before when we keep lots of cash. There are means of spending cash without holding a lot of cash. We are moving into a cashless economy.
“It happens in other countries, both for transportation, purchasing PMS, and even for buying goods and services. We should insist on payment through other means rather than paying with cash.”
He added: “We will join the CBN and Bankers Committee to go around the State and inspect what is going on.
“We will make a telephone line open to citizens from which platform we will know the challenges they face and will continue to respond until things normalize. Edo is a peaceful state; no need to make trouble as we need to collaborate to solve the issue. Nigeria is our country and it’s our responsibility to protect and defend our country.”
The Director of Risk Management, CBN, Abuja, Dr. Blaise Ijebor, noted: “We want to drive a cashless-like environment in Nigeria because it’s beneficial to us.
“I encourage you to use alternative means as possible as we know some ATMs are not paying.
“We will do our best within a day or two to make sure all the ATMs are paying for those that need cash.”
He said a monitoring team, comprising the EFCC and ICPC is going around the state to identify those conniving to create artificial scarcity of the naira, adding, “We will identify these groups and deal with such to stabilize the situation. I urge Edo people to be calm as this problem will soon be resolved.”