By Ahmed Ibrahim
Permanent Secretary/ Auditor General for Local Government, Lagos State, Mr. Mubashiru Hassan has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to exempt local governments from the cashless policy charges.
He made this call while speaking at a 2-day sensitization workshop on the “Workings of Electronic/Cashless policy” for Local Governments and Local Government Education Authorities in Lagos.
Hassan also argued that the penal charge being imposed on the state for withdrawal above the stipulated limit should be removed until when the policy is implemented nationwide.
In his response on the demand for exemption of local governments revenue agencies, the Director, Banking and Payment System Department, CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun official said that the apex would soon issue a statement to clarify this.
Meanwhile, Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Taxation and Revenue, Mr. Abimbola Shodipo, said that CBN should assign more role for local governments in creating awareness about the og-going cashless policy.
Speaking at the sensitization workshop, Shodipo said that local governments due to the closeness to the people at grassroots level are very critical to creating awareness about the cashless policy. He said for example, they can sensitise the people about the benefits of the policy and other reasons to embrace it. He said for this reason the CBN should devise ways to increasingly engage local governments in the implementation of the scheme
In his welcome address, Hassan said the sensitization is aimed at exposing the functional local government on the issue of CBN cashless policy. He said it will give the participants the opportunity of having knowledge about the policy which will guide them on avoiding the risks during transactions.
He said, “With the introduction of a new policy especially the electronic payment system which is system-based, the target audience is not likely to be acquainted with adequate knowledge and the details of the workings of the system because it is new and more so in a semi IT literate society such as ours. The cost of errors can be very material if the operators do not have the relevant knowledge and wherewithal especially in an environment of sharp practices and internet scam.
“This collaborative workshop has been specially packaged to equip our people in Lagos State with first-hand information and knowledge about the operations of e-payment and minimize errors to the barest minimum and this informed our choice of partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria who is the initiator of this policy so that our people can learn from the source. The Day One of this workshop covers all the policy makers at the Local Government level while Day Two is for the operators that are directly involved in the electronic payment system.
“This enlightenment workshop is also our own little way to help the Federal Government to echo the new monetary policy, that is E-payment to the grassroots. It is noteworthy to state that the package which the Lagos State Office of the Auditor-General for Local Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) opens to us is free of charge to all categories of participants”.
He said that the coming together of the two bodies is unique as both have put at stake, their good names and brand established over the two decades ago in the interest of the Lagosians and urged the participants in the workshop to learn from it. He enjoined the support of Lagosians and all Nigerians to support the policy.