By Kasarachi Azuka, Asaba
Governor IIfeanyi Okowa of Delta State, has directed all government agencies to embrace full cashless policy to mitigate the sufferings of the masses.
Okowa gave the directive in view of the hardship caused by the redesign of the new naira notes and subsequent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the need for citizens to embrace cashless policy.
Charles Aniagwu, state commissioner for information who announced the governor’s directive at a news conference in Asaba, weekend, said the directive had become imperative following complaints of patient’s inability to access medical services at hospitals across the state due to unavailability of cash.
The governor also called on the Federal Government and the monetary authorities to ensure full penetration of banking services to the rural communities and urged private businesses to embrace the cashless policy irrespective of the hiccups presently experienced in order to reduce the sufferings of the masses.
“His Excellency the Governor of Delta, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has directed that every government agency should proceed to embrace fully the cashless policy.
“We have also directed that all hospitals should make urgent efforts to ensure that they provide PoS services or any other platforms for them to collect funds electronically.
“This is because you cannot refuse to treat somebody because he does not have cash, so if at the state level we are ensuring that we conform, we are also encouraging the private sector to conform with the directive to ameliorate the sufferings of the people in this regard.
“We are urging all hospitals to take steps to provide alternative payment platforms other than cash, nobody should refuse to treat somebody because he is not able to provide cash,” he said.
Aniagwu further urged Deltans to use the window provided by the cashless policy to key into the state’s Contributory Health Insurance Scheme to enable them access health services at any point in time without bothering to pay cash or out of pocket expenses.
“We are also asking Deltans to embrace the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme. We have been able to bring in a number persons in the informal sector such that you can now go to hospital without having cash or out of pocket expenses.
The moment you are able to pay for the year into the Contributory Health Scheme, you just go to the Hospital without having a penny and you are treated.
We have already dealt with that in the formal sector and today we have gone beyond the One million mark in terms of people registered in our Contributory Health insurance Scheme.
With this cashless policy, we now want to impress it on our people to embrace the Contributory Health Scheme so that they don’t continue the out of pocket expenses which is even far costlier than the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme.
“Imagine just paying N7,000 for a whole year for one person and any day you go into the hospital you are treated? Is that not better than once in a while you have malaria, you spend N20,000 and another time you spend more money.
“As a government we are embracing the cashless policy because we are quite convinced that it will help to reduce incidence of corruption, but we are also asking the monetary authorities to make this policies work well for our people particularly those in the rural communities.
“They must find ways of improving penetration of banking services or point of sale services so that people cannot have their monies stuck and yet they are not able to feed well or they are not able to commute.
“So as we embrace the policy, it is important that that policy begin to have a human face by ensuring that our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters in the rural communities are able to also have access to the platforms that will help them key in very well so that we will have a country that is advancing digitally on all fronts,”