IS A CASHLESS SOCIETY NECESSARY FOR NIGERIA’S ECONOMY? NO!
Delivered at First Leg, Faculty Category, Jaw War 2018
In life, there are three basic necessities. Food, shelter and clothing. Man cannot survive without these three. These needs cannot be substituted by anything, hence, they are necessary for survival. Today, my opponents are saying what these needs are to man is what a cashless society is to Nigeria’s economy. How misguided?
The word necessary is from the Latin Word ‘necessarius’ meaning unavoidable, inevitable and indispensable. Merriam Webster’s dictionary says it is something so important that you must do it or have it. It is a thing that is absolutely needed.
Cashless society according to businessnovice.net is an economic concept where financial transactions are executed in an electronic format instead of banknotes. For example credit and debit cards, point of sales (POS), mobile banking etc.
Therefore, the question today is if a society where there is no physical money is absolutely needed and a must-have for Nigeria’s economy. To this, I say NO. Now, let’s begin.
First, the existence of one or more alternatives eliminates the necessity of anything. From the definition, we can infer that the moment something else exists to replace an initial need, that thing no longer becomes necessary. Hence, the fact that raw cash exists and is currently in use already invalidates the argument of my opponent on the necessity of a cashless society. Let my learned opponents learn that with or without a cashless society, Nigeria’s economy would remain. As long as this is true, a cashless society is not necessary for Nigeria’s economy.
Moving on, in any economy, the role of people and human resources cannot be overemphasized. The economy exists because of them in the first place. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 61% of Nigerians live below a dollar per day and a report by the Brookings institution released in April 2018 revealed that the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty increases by six people every minute. Six, ladies and gentlemen, this means by the time I am done with my speech, thirty more Nigerians would be poor. Judges, how can a concept that neglects the need of those in need be what is needful for our economy? And How can my opponents who are the advocates of justice be the ones advocating for a concept that is not just to all? Have they forgotten that an average Nigerian would have to starve himself for three days to get enough money for the N1, 000 fees required to get an ATM card? And he’ll be reduced to nothing by the time the bank charges N200 for card maintenance and N75 SMS charge for wishing him a happy birthday. Until the gap between the rich and the poor in our economy is balanced, a cashless society would remain unnecessary.
Furthermore, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC in December 2016, Canada, Sweden, United Kingdom, France and the United States lead the world in cashless transactions today. Interestingly, according to the World economic forum, these five countries are among the most successful economies in the world today. The question then is, did these countries become successful after they adopted a cashless economy or before? According to the United Nations GDP data, these countries were declared economically successful as far back as 1980 fourteen years before the concept of cashless society began to grow in 1994 according to Vasily Bernstein, an economic expert. Hence, it is safe to say that it was possible for these countries to go cashless because their economies were already viable and technologically advanced. But, judges, this is Nigeria, we do not need economic experts to know our economy is not economical enough. How then is a cashless society necessary for our economy? What is necessary is the development of our economy and not the unnecessary stance of my opponents on the necessity of a cashless society.
If my opponents come to say a cashless society is necessary because it will salvage the economy. Let them know that the World Bank and IMF have said the way out is in diversifying our economy, not in embracing a cashless society.
If they argue on the future benefits and potentials of a cashless society. Let them know systems do not hurt themselves, humans hurt systems. From the individual that embezzled money in a society that runs on cash to the individual that hacks into an account in a cashless society they are both human beings and according to the laws of anthropology, systems change but men do not so you see whether it is 2053 or 2118 men will still cheat and with the ever-improving technology, you can trust the smart yahoo and g boys to always find new ways to also cheat.
In conclusion, one thing must be clear today. This debate is not about the advantages, disadvantages or future benefits of a cashless society. It is on the necessity of a cashless society specifically to the Nigerian economy. Could we try out a cashless society in Nigeria? Yes! But is it necessary? No! Until my opponents come here to prove otherwise, their arguments do not stand and to know this, we do not need the statue of the lady justice to leave the faculty of law, walk into this hall and whisper softly into our ears ‘nos est nesesssitas’ it is not necessary.