Nigeria to become cashless by 2025 – CBN
As Nigerians expect to see more new naira notes next week when the banks resume operations for the New Year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the use of cash will naturally slow by 2025.
In its Payments Vision 2025 document, the CBN said by 2025, Nigeria aspires to have a cashless and efficient electronic payment system infrastructure that facilitates financial services in all the sectors of the economy and provides secured, reliable, and user centric financial solutions in compliance with international standards.
According to the CBN, the Nigerian payment landscape has many options that have displaced cash in recent times, including electronic bill payment, mobile phone top up, mobile and instant payments.
“The use of cash will naturally slow with the ‘mobile first generation’, who will be economically active by 2025, hence one of the focuses of the PSV 2025 is enhancing the cashless policy of the CBN”, the document stated.
The CBN on October 26, 2022 announced that higher denominations of the naira- N200, N500 and N1,000 notes would be redesigned and introduced into the economy from December 15, 2022 while commercial banks were directed to return existing denominations to the CBN.
The new naira became a legal tender on December 15, 2022, after it was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 23, 2022.
A visit to some bank branches in Lagos revealed that the banks which rationed the new naira when it was rolled out, no longer have any to give to customers who requested to withdraw some.
“There is no new naira again; come by January, that is when they will bring it,” said a bank cashier in the Mazamaza area of Lagos.
Since the roll out of the new naira, Nigerians have expressed mixed feelings about the redesigned currency as they have observed that new banknotes, which they described as ‘painted’, are being counterfeited.
“It is not a design issue. But quality,” said an entertainer, in his twitter handle. Another comment from the twitter handle of an IT company said, “perhaps, it was intentionally designed to fade, so that if the crook stash the money somewhere, in two months, they will come back to see that it has turned to white paper.”
Sharing his experience about the new naira, Jeffrey Asemota, a Lagos based self-employed, said, “early this morning (Friday) I got paid with the new note. And out of excitement I decided to buy a few things with the money. I went to a shop in town to buy something but it was rejected. The store keeper refused to accept the money for payment. She claimed that nobody accepted the notes from her when she used it to make purchases.
My experience this morning was not funny at all. What if that was the only money left with me?”
However, to save Nigerians from fallen victims of fake naira notes, the CBN on December 20, 2022 released the security features of the new naira.
The security features of the new notes show 23 features on the N1,000 note, 15 features on the N500 note and 10 features on the N200 note.
The release of the security features has brought some relief to Nigerians who have expressed fears about counterfeiting of the new notes.
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