A cashless policy is an endeavor by a government or organization to encourage or compel the use of electronic payment systems rather than actual cash for transactions. This policy was initiated by the Sanusi Lamido-led Central Bank of Nigeria in 2012.
The cashless policy aims to improve efficiency, lower the expense of handling actual currency, and reduce the chance of illicit acts such as money laundering, fraud, and corruption. This can be accomplished by promoting and implementing digital payment methods including mobile wallets, debit/credit cards, and internet banking.
According to Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, if this policy is fully and effectively operated, it will help stop the surge of illicit election financing by making it possible to track funds.
The cashless system has been beneficial and aids in tracking. This type of infrastructure is useful for increasing financial inclusion, and the more financial inclusion, the easier it is to track.
Speaking at the Presidential Villa, when he received a delegation of the European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission led by Barry Andrews, the Chief Observer, who is also a member of the European Parliament, Osinbajo said: “I think that we should be looking at providing more infrastructure.
“So much money can be spent without it being tracked,” under the current election financing practices in the country.”
He acknowledged the major challenge in controlling election financing due to cash transactions but added that infrastructure issues must still be addressed in order for the country to have an efficient cashless system.
“With cash transactions, it is still difficult to seriously control election financing.’’
On the issue of electoral offenses, Professor Osinbajo pointed out that there is the Electoral Offences Commission Bill at the National Assembly.
“We hope that it will begin a new regime of dealing with electoral offenses which would be helpful.
“By and large, one shouldn’t expect INEC to be the investigator of electoral offenses. I think that law enforcement agencies should be responsible for arresting and prosecuting offenders, State by State.
“Electoral offenses are always seen through a political prism; people will always feel that they are being prosecuted because they belong to a certain party.
“What is more important is that we have to find a system where the police could have a special unit for offenses during the course of elections. The Federal High Courts could also have a special jurisdiction to deal with offenses and not extend beyond the Federal High Courts.