The cashless policy started in Lagos January 2012, but it is yet a policy in most major public institutions. A good example is the Lagos state hospitals. A visit to any of these general hospitals will reveal little or no attempt on the part of the management to promote electronic payment.
It is not that they don’t have the Point of Sale Terminals; they do, but they hide them. In most of the general hospitals, you hardly see any compelling poster or publicity to encourage people to pay with card, and neither is it offered as an alternative. This was experienced firsthand at the Gbagada Annex of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. The cashier at the fee paying pharmacy store had a PoS terminal but hid it in the drawer.
No sign, no poster that you can pay with card. But the reason is not far-fetched. When you pay with cash, you may forgo your balance, especially if you are in haste. The cashier announces before collecting money, “No Change”. So you decide whether to forgo the balance or come back for it, if you have to be served. Observing this scenario, a customer complained, “Why can’t you get PoS so that people can pay with card? The cashier responded, “We have it”, and he brought the terminal out of the drawer. The customer requested to pay with card, and to his delight the PoS worked, he did not have to forgo his balance.
The implementation of the cashless policy was hinged on rapid deployment and adoption of PoS terminals across the country. The strategy was that with PoS available nationwide for payment of goods and services, there would be little need for people to carry cash. Till date 158,000 PoS terminals have been registered and statistics indicate increasing acceptance of this channel for payment. Data from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) show that transactions through PoS rose to one million per day in October from about 400,000 per day in January. Similarly, the value of transactions had risen to N18 billion per day from a N8 billion per day in January.
This increase could have been higher if public institutions in Lagos, especially the general hospitals have aggressively embraced and promoted cashless transactions.
But the public institutions in Lagos are not the only ones. A lot of merchants or companies in Lagos have PoS. Some do not even display it for customers to see, while some just discourage people from using it. There is a certain company that sells frozen food items (fish, chicken, turkey etc.) located on Akowonjo road in Lagos.
It is a big company, and it serve as the main supplier of protein for most people living in that axis of Alimosho local government. The company has two PoS terminals, but its cashiers rarely display them. And if you request to pay with card, they insist you pay N200 fee ! This is to defray the percentage charged them by banks per transaction. That is the attitude of a lot of merchants. And that is why the PoS revolution is moving below potential.
Data from NIBSS show that out of the 158,000 registered terminals, 88,678 or 58 per cent are located in Lagos. Also the state accounts for 72 per cent of the one million volumes of PoS transactions per day. With just 31,000 terminals active nationwide, the implication is that most of the inactive terminals are in Lagos.
This is aptly reflected in the sectoral analysis of PoS transactions. Fast food and restaurants accounts for seven per cent, hotels accounts for three per cent, fuel stations-three per cent, drugs and pharmacy-two per cent, educational-two per cent, travel and logistics-one per cent, airlines – zero per cent!
Most of these services and sectors are based in Lagos and are patronized by people who have payment cards. You would expect them to lead the PoS transaction chart. Their poor performance is the product of an unwritten decision by the owners of these businesses to antagonize the cashless policy. For business owners, this might be understandable. But what of government institutions like the general hospitals? What makes it difficult for the Lagos State government to introduce a policy of electronic payment in all its institutions like the general hospitals? If it can introduce electronic payment on its BRT buses, as it recently did, what stops it from introducing and promoting same in all its institutions?
And this should be the area of focus for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the banks in their quest to achieve the cashless policy objectives. The aggressiveness with which PoS terminals were deployed should be employed in engaging state governments, airlines, hotels eateries etc, to stop this indirect antagonism of the PoS revolution.
– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/11/cashless-policy-antagonists-pos-revolution/#sthash.2VZMQ0b2.dpuf