It is often said that humans are resistant to change. Now I can’t remember where I first heard that, but it has also stuck in my head as much as the phrase “change is constant”.

So over the last few months I’ve started following the CBN’s financial policies keenly, not because I plan to take on broad street or anything, but because somehow I feel that we owe it a duty to ourselves to be well informed about the policies of the government, so some schmuck somewhere doesn’t use our finances to play to finance his destination weddings and world domination ambitions.

Most of you must have heard of the CBN cashless policy that came into effect sometime in Mid 2012 and has been steady been deployed across the country starting with Lagos, Abuja and I think, Port Harcourt. Well if you’ve been living under the rock all this while, you might want to check this link out after you’re done reading this.

I’m sure 90% of you didn’t click that link, but let me give you a rundown of what this policy means off the bat.

1. You are restricted from carrying out cash transactions above a certain level

2. You got an extra limit on electronic transactions

3. The policy saved the government money used in printing currency notes as eventually less notes will have to be produced.

For more of that, please go back to this link. And read up on it.

But you see, the problem I have with this policy is way the awareness is being handled, too primitive. Which means, two years after the official sanction of the policy, Nigerians (being strong headed of course) have refused to come to terms with it and accept it for what it is, and the deadlines are still being shifted instead of being enforced strongly. Now let me give you an example of what I’m saying.

Sometime ago in the past I had to get some computer accessories from Computer Village in Ikeja. And if you’re conversant with that place, you would know better than carrying valuables when going within a mile radius of that market. I mean, people have been sold fufu  instead of Sony Ericsson phones; Wana has been robbed of a phone he purchased by the same people he purchased the phone from even before he had a chance to use the phone; someone I know had gone to repair his damaged screen, but got the laptop stolen right after he had repaired the screen. And many other stories.

So wary of this… I went to computer village to buy these accessories, but, there was a problem: the money could not fit into my pocket without being too obvious to the villagers that I was a fish that they could fry, so I thought:

“CBN has put a cashless policy for two years now, I can just dash to the shop… Get whatever goods I want, brandish my debit card (or ATM card like we call it) and walk out of computer village like a warrior out of the 2000 epic film, Gladiator.

So after three hours of haggling and finding a sweet deal, I finally settled to buy my stuff from this particular guy right opposite the Slot shop (I think there are several SLOT shops, but there’s this RED one close to BankPHB Keystone Bank). So he packaged my stuff and when he brought the receipt the money was in the upwards of  2o0 grand and of course I thought “bring out your card and swipe”.

So I brought out my card and asked the guy a question I should have asked earlier in the deal, “wey your POS?”. At that moment, it sounded like I had become french all of a sudden (don’t get this wrong I like french food and their women) and the guy couldn’t understand why I was asking for a POS and after I explained what it was that I asked for, he rebuked told me off and said I should go and stand at the ATM and withdraw ₦200,000+. In cash. In computer village. I wasn’t going to take that risk, so I politely asked him if there was any other way we could do this transaction without me doing all that drama. But baba didn’t agree, so I gently carried my 6″9 frame out of the shop and wondered to another seller I think was really big, Blessing Limited or something and in the process added an additional ten thousand bucks to my bill. But you know what? It was worth it.

So what am I saying? A trader who had not been properly educated about a service that had been running for 2 years plus, had lost an upwards of  ₦200,000 because he did not know that the country’s economy had taken a different turn and yet the people that are responsible for this policy, would sit tight in their coat and ties every other day and pretend like everything is well and the country is being stirred in the right direction economically.

Maybe I’m writing all of this because my debit card was confiscated by StanbicIBTC’s ATM and now I have to wait for two months, before I can get a new debit card from GTbank  or maybe I have suddenly become interested in financial matters. We will never know. But one thing I know (and you all know) for sure is that this country is bad at making policies, and it takes great strength and cele type of prayers for us to get to utopia.

Do you have any experiences close to mine? Don’t hesitate to share in the comments.

Until next time,

Niro

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