The Central Bank of Nigeria’s Cashless Policy may have exposed religious organizations to financial worries, Nairametrics investigations reveal.
Already, there have been feelers that tithes and offerings are reducing, nudging clerics to start urging adherents to adopt transfers to pay tithes and offerings.
An investigation by Nairametrics over the week, which culminated on Sunday, showed that clerics have started feeling the pinch of the policy, as it became burdensome to defray the daily expenses of running the organizations due to scarcity of cash, which became obvious yesterday.
A priest at the Assumption Church, Igboelerin on the outskirts of Lagos, urged adherents to pay their offerings into a designated account. This was a result of low offerings compared to normal days emanating from the cash crunch.
A member of the church, Uche Muokwudo, who spoke to Nairametrics about the situation, conjectured that the regular offerings were less than half of what is normally collected at Sunday services, which necessitated the call to transfer to the designated account.
He noted that the cash crunch came at a time when the cost of running regular services had risen due to an increase in the cost of fuel, as well as a scarcity of the product, which means buying on the black market.
The situation was much the same with churches across the country. Uju Njokwu, who is a member of the Church of God Mission in the Woji Area of Port Harcourt, related to Nairametrics that she could not pay her tithes last week because of the lack of cash. Another member of the same church, Sarah Atuma, said she could not make it to church on Sunday because she didn’t have enough cash to transport herself to church.
The pastor of the Consuming Fire Pentecostal Church in Benin City, Edo State, told Nairametrics that he could not run the generator of his church for the full service yesterday because he did not have enough money to buy fuel.
- “We did not have enough money yesterday to run the generator for full service because offerings have been poor during the week, and the price of fuel is high. We are buying a liter of fuel for more than N500 right now, and we don’t have that kind of cash to buy fuel at such a price. Tithes and offerings are not coming in like that anymore,” he said.
- “I hope faithful worshipers can adopt paying their tithes and offerings into the church’s bank account; that’s the only way we will be able to stay afloat in times like these. Things are changing, and we all need to adapt,” said another pastor of a Pentecostal church, who pled anonymity.
- “The country is not yet ripe for the cashless policy; it’s affecting us badly,” said another Pentecostal pastor in Abuja, who also pled anonymity. “Before now, on a regular Sunday, we would have more than N300,000 as tithes and offerings; today we received a little over N75,000. If it continues like this we would not have enough money to pay pastors, other church workers, and to take care of other expenses like running the generator,” he said.