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Cashless policy, wonderful idea but timing wrong – says Bishop Onaga – From Chinelo Ude/Enugu

  • Bishop Onaga: Many Nigerians are suffering because they cannot access cash to meet their needs.

The Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, His Lordship Bishop Calistus Chukwuma Onaga, has  condemned the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) for the wrong introduction of the new naira notes and it’s implementation, saying that it is a wonderful and good idea that is coming at a very bad time.

Bishop Onaga disclosed this during an interview with SummitNews correspondent in his office at Holy Ghost Cathedral Church, Enugu, the Enugu state capital.

Onaga said that the introduction of  new naira notes and cashless policy came  when Nigerian citizens are facing lots of challenges like fuel scarcity, increase in fuel pump price, election, shortage of new naira notes and other things.

He complained that the wrong implementation of the new naira notes and cashless policy has brought a lot of sufferings and hardship for Nigerian citizens because they cannot access cash to attend to their needs.

According to him, “It is good that they want to check something. They were trying to tell us that a lot of money is in circulation without the banks being in control of them, and they want to mop up some of this money. Unfortunately, ‘when two elephants are fighting, it’s the grass that suffers. 

“Perhaps, those people that they are targeting are not even feeling it as such, because I am sure many of them have gotten this new naira notes. As I was coming to office today, all the banks along Ogui Road and Independence Layout were filled with people standing at this hour 9.30 in the morning (at ATM), waiting to get whatever they can from the new currency to feed.

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 ” I am not sure that they are doing it correctly. First of all we think they are not printing enough money whether they are doing it advertently or inadvertently that should be examined. If you are to do a thing like this, make sure that people have access to money.

You don’t tell everybody to go cashless, even in the high class economy of the world they don’t do it. It is good to promote cashless system but one should do that reasonably, not everything is cashless. Why would they think that they can force everybody to be cashless. It is a good idea to be cashless but you don’t force everybody to do that”.

“We are always excessive in implementing certain things in the society. We  normally say that virtue stands in the middle. You do not overdo one thing in order to correct the other one. You do not dig up a hole in order to fill another hole.  So that’s the problem we have  especially with this re- designing of this naira notes. And look at it, is like everybody is stranded. 

“Many people are exploiting the situation, they want to get rich at the expense of others. So if we know ourselves, and we know the possible things that happen, the government and those who are responsible should be careful, not to play into the hands of criminals, the poor people are suffering now. I told everybody to bring back the money, and we announced it in the church, and they sent in their money. Yet, they cannot get anything to live with. You bring out everything you have and you go to the bank and they begin to ration, was that the intention, to ration money? It is a wonderful idea as I said but methodically wrong and timely wrong”

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