The CBN ‘Cashless Lagos’ initiative has further allowed creditors like me owe more as one-man businesses across Lagos have been slow to embrace this new state-of-play.
Two mojitos and one rib-eye steak later, I was pleasantly hit by the words, “Our P.O.S. machine is down!” Not like I was genuinely trying to pay for the meal in the first place. With a pretend angry expression, I called for the manager.
“She dey come,” the waiter said whilst leaning over my left shoulder. As the manager approached, I had made up my mind that I wasn’t going to be pushed to explore the option of walking to a nearby ATM which was sixty metres outside of these premises. I based my refusal on the following:
- It is not my fault your restaurant refuses to comply with CBN directives.
- Using that particular ATM will also cost me an extra one hundred naira as it is operated by a different financial institution and besides the 12.5% consumption TAX and the other 12.5% kinikon charge.
I will not give this establishment an extra dime.
As the manager approached my table, she wore a defeated look. “Hello Mr. Omotayo,” she said. I will spare you the contents of our forty-five seconds conversation; let’s just say it ended with “…next time.” This is the fourth item which I had purchased/consumed without paying for that week. There were the Atiku Lace purchases at the start of the week. As I rummaged through a stuffed ‘Ghana-must-go’ bag sitting in the seller’s car boot, after helping myself to a few I enquired, “BTW, do you have a P.O.S machine?”
On Wednesday, after a wait-and-get photo shoot, I asked the roadside photographer, “Abeg where your POS machine?” On Saturday, I sent my car for servicing and after the oil and sparkplugs were changed, my mechanic revved the car engine in excitement outside my gate in hope for an immediate cash settlement, “Ehn ehn, Matthew please go and bring your POS machine, you know na cashless Lagos we dey so…” There’s no guessing what the collective responses were to these calculated questions.
The truth is I’ve become accustomed to life on credit. Yes indeed we do not live in a credit society but we certainly know how to ‘post’ payment. From Surulere to Magodo, there’s always one brave bar owner who will allow you pop Dom Perignon on an IOU. In fact it’s become such standard practice that some service providers look at you strange when you settle a bill upfront. “Can I come for my balance?” is a reoccurring text message I get from carpenters, electricians, and LASUU students. The CBN ‘Cashless Lagos’ initiative has further allowed creditors like me owe more as one-man businesses across Lagos have been slow to embrace this new state-of-play. Like most things, people will find loopholes. Abi, if a whole Central Bank of Nigeria asks me to stop carrying cash—I must obey. I’m a law-abiding gentle moin moin. Hence, I should not be held responsible if I go and buy something and the business owner fails to comply with the same directives.
The same way they have drummed it down the end-users’ throats is the same way they should ensure all service providers from the hospitality to retail sectors have P.O.S. machines installed by their tills. And for the ‘I-too-knows’ amongst you who are muttering “He should have asked before he started to order” under your breaths—sharrap!
I tell you what…it sure will be interesting to find out the stats. on how many P.O.S. machines exists in ratio to the number of restaurants/shops in Lagos. And yes, that includes meat pie/ sharwama/ ofada kiosks, and mama-put too. There are no exceptions. In fact, it’s a shame today is a bank holiday, otherwise I would have taken a stroll to Ghana High and after getting served, I will present my Naira MasterCard card. Let me see the ‘ara ti won fe daa’.
About the author: Bobo Omotayo is the author of London Life, Lagos Living. For more information, visit www.kilonsparkles.com
Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.