1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
It is noteworthy to assert that change remains a constant reality of life. Just as tides and seasons come and go, so do situations come and go. These situations vary from economic, political, social, technological etc. They have all required far reaching solutions to address their peculiar inadequacies. The fortunes and short comings of the barter system economy have come and gone to give room for other systems. With the breakdown of the barter system, there arose a new order of value quantification of goods and services as well as a basis for arranging and obtaining values through an exchange system. This phenomenon is what experts and authorities call the ‘money system’.
In contemporary literature, it is typical to find scholars like Glyn Davies, A History of Money (2002) call it ‘the money economy’- basically an era of coins and notes. The 17th century challenges are attributed to have given rise to this order (Davis 2002). It is particularly noteworthy to mention that it was clearly evident between the 17th and 19th century in developed climes of civilization. The money system or money economy (cash and coins) was obviously the necessary framework to curtail the short coming and inadequacies of the barter system.
Nevertheless, in an ever changing world, it necessary to curtail evolving problems with far reaching solutions. In Nigeria the paper money is starting to give way for another long existent but obscure practice of exchange and value quantification. This practice is the trend called ‘mobile money’, or ‘electronic money’ or as spelt out by the monetary authorities of the country as ‘cashless’ money.
It is common talk among experts that the paper money system in Nigeria has given rise to structural as well as systemic problems. These issues are ethical while others are systemic. The paper money can no longer match the present challenges that confronts its system. This issue nevertheless is deemed solvable when appropriate measures are employed. First on the list of issue is the problem of accountability. A 2010 World Bank release shows that about $10billion in grants has be given to Africa nations, yet the reality of things in this part of the world cannot substantiate such claims courtesy the values of Africa leaders.
Next is the case of inefficiency of financial system. A 2012 CBN press release confirms that the Nigerian economy is building its way into a bizarre accretion of N192billion in losses to routine and basic cash management functions in the financial system come 2015. Its more of a reality than cliche that real sector requires credit for its business operations. Nevertheless, there is a big disparity between the deposit interest rate and the credit interest rate. This factor sure constrains credit flow for business operations. Similarly, the unfolding realities of a fast paced global environment require very pressing technological advancement to match this very pressing harsh reality that confronts business of the modern day.
Nevertheless, the key issue for consideration is ‘perception’. John Locke, the British philosopher asserted ‘nihilest in intellect quod non fruit trius in sensu’ – nothing is on the understanding which was not first perceived by some of the senses. Here arises the question of perception.
The issue of perception is on how Nigerians view this policy, that is, the perception of the individuals, corporate units as well as the government. Despite the articulation of the policy as one with a messianic significance, the study seeks to clearly measure the perception of Nigerians about the policy and give well meaning answers.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
The study purports to give answers to an array of questions. The policy is built to meet significant goals. It is built upon a fundamental alignment with the economy. Yet it is confronted by an array of problems and questions. Primary concerns among the problems this study seeks to address are:
Are Nigerians aware of the cashless economy policy?
Do majority of Nigerians consider the cashless economy beneficial?
Are there fears and negative perceptions about the policy?
Are Nigerians satisfied with the preparedness of the policy makers?
1.3 THE OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study seeks to achieve the following objective. They are as follows:
To find out if Nigerians are aware of the cashless economy policy.
To find out if Nigerians consider the cashless economy to be beneficial.
To find out if Nigerians consider the cashless economy policy to be inimical.
To find out if Nigerians approve of the level of preparedness.
1.4 THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study seeks to investigate this issue from the geographical confines of Benin-City. Reasons being that this part of the country is considered to be a prismatic base for considering the problem. This is consequent upon the fact that it is not as developed as high awareness states like Lagos and less developed than low awareness states like Zamfara state. It will require petty and big time trading information, facts from the academia, as well as firms and public service documentation. Findings from this investigative inquisition will constitute a basis for theorizing, forming and building resolutions.
1.5 RELEVANCE OF THE STUDY
The place of value quantification and exchange in monetary terms cannot be overemphasized. It is therefore no surprise that the financial system keeps creating and recreating frameworks to match the unfolding harsh realities particular with its system. This study is important enough to address the key issue of perception and understanding of this policy. This importance derives from the need to clarify core issues implicit in this policy. The issue of general acceptability which in some quarters many assert to be positive, the issue of feasibility which many still assert is quite possible.
The study purports to increase the frontier of knowledge with relevant facts not only on a neutrally conservative academic basis but also in practical terms that are relevant to the course of social transformation in the country.
It is no longer common talk or news that Nigeria is a country where a vast majority of citizenry is not literate, too many persons have the tendency to resist change at all cost and stick to the pre-existing status quo of the paper money phenomenon. It is therefore a necessity to study this situation. This research will go beyond reporting inferences, deductions, opinions and any form of statistical theorizing rather it seeks to add meaning to existing information. This investigation is thus necessary to reconcile the information gap between the problems that confronts this policy and its actual fate in reality.
1.6 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The study experienced certain limitations that impede its goal to fulfill specificity as well as an objective realism. The limitations are with respect to the methodology employed consequent upon time and resource factors. The limitations are:
Smallness of the sample size as the study purports to obtain data from
limited sources to deduce inferences for the whole population (country).
The inability to obtain a completely random sample for the study.
The imprecision in the measurement of variable involve as well as low response rate to from scheduled forms of interviews.