President of Africa’s Largest Entrepreneurship Organization Tackles Emefiele Over New Naira Policy

The Founder and President of Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs, the largest entrepreneurship Organization in Africa, Dr Summy Smart Francis has  called  out Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor – Godwin Emefiele over the new naira policy.

Francis in his his open letter to the apex bank governor, expressed disappointment over the new naira policy, saying  the policy has made it extremely difficult for individuals and businesses to gain access to cash.

According to him, the policy is  a huge blow to the entrepreneurial community and led to the inability of people to access essential goods and services.

The letter reads in part, “I wish to express my deepest concern on the current state of the Nigerian economy due to the cashless policy, and how it has affected startups and budding Entrepreneurs. The intense suffering that business owners have to go through has made my heart heavy.

“Respect for fundamental human rights and the law, is the bedrock of the fight against corruption and other ills across the globe. But under your leadership we have witnessed an utmost disregard of the law, with respect to the Supreme Court ruling on the re-usage of the old Naira notes, which you did not promptly respond to.

“The fact that you sent a memo from your institution to address that all banks should begin to accept the old naira notes, does not negate that this should have been done earlier and would have prevented the havoc caused by your irresponsiveness.

“If you were able to advise the President on this policy, then you should have also been able to advise him to speak to the people on the extension of the policy, and the importance for the seamless adoption of the new notes, after seeing the hardship it has caused on fellow Nigerians.

“Over the past few weeks, I witnessed firsthand the harsh impact of the cashless policy on businesses and entrepreneurs in Nigeria, as many entrepreneurs and members of our community complained bitterly, with thousands of businesses ruined.

“Your policies made it extremely difficult for individuals and businesses to gain access to cash, which was a huge blow to the entrepreneurial community and led to the inability of people to access essential goods and services. The cost of living and doing business skyrocketed, and many small business owners ran into loss and debt”.

He  added that Emefiele’s  actions and inactions have killed many businesses in Nigeria, stressing that farmers recorded massive losses as they watched their farm produce get rotten before their very eyes, due to unavailability of the legal tender for transactions.

He said, “Have you considered that many startups and businesses are struggling to thrive in these persistent global economic difficulties? Have you considered the huge population of the unbanked? those that are not EFT compliant, and those with no point of sale for their business? Have you considered the impact of the added burden they all have to bear due to this policy and its implementation? Many businesses and startup have been ruined; many may not even rise again.

“As an organization we have spent over a decade empowering and developing budding and emerging entrepreneurs to either commence or scale up their businesses, having to watch these entrepreneurs discouraged and devastated is heartbreaking.

“The inhumane treatment people experienced in their quest to get cash was too disheartening. A cashless economy is supposed to make life easier, but this came with untold hardship as it turned into a nightmare. Long queues at banks’ ATMs and people even sleeping there overnight were a common sight; Workers could not get to their work place, some either trek long distances as they couldn’t get cash for transportation fare; POS merchants and traders who had access to cash charged exorbitant transaction fees which some could not afford, and one cannot blame them because of the inclement struggle they go through to purchase the money from some corrupt bank officials and other means.

“While we continue to educate entrepreneurs of the benefits and operations of a cashless society in our organization, adequate time should be factored to be able to spread this literacy across the nooks and cranny of Nigeria. I hope you tread more carefully in future in implementing policies and most importantly listen to the plight of the people as we all work together towards a more prosperous future for the Nigerian economy.”