The cumulative value of transactions through various electronic payment (e-payment) channels in the country have raised sharply by 103 per cent to a total of N231.247 trillion as at June 2019, matched with the N138.672 trillion reported in the whole of 2018. Also, the volume of transactions jumped by 42 per cent in the period under review, from a total of 2,163,779,156 recorded in 2018, to 3,068,922,121 in the first six months of 2019. The figures were contained in the latest industry e-payment data for the half-year 2019 obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). A breakdown of the figures showed that the total value of interbank e-payment transactions in the period under review was N203 trillion and total volume at 1,756,300,720.57. The data also showed that while the combined value of Automated Clearing House System\/NAPS\/PMS stood at\u00a0 N2.271 trillion and volume at 3,416,537 in the period under review, ATM transactions stood at N11.596 trillion in the first six months of 2019, with the total volume of 424,619,677. Also, just as the value of point of sales (Pos) transactions recorded in the period under review was N1.384 trillion, the volume was 187,695,159, while internet (web) transactions\u2019 value stood at\u00a0 N233.903 billion with total volume at 47,976,900. Similarly, the industry recorded the total value of mobile money transactions of N1.966 trillion; with volume at 104,773,933 and Nigerian Instant Payment (NIP) value of N49 trillion, with total volume at 504,160,651. E-bills\/PAY transactions amounted to N281 billion, with volume at 616,651; Remitta which also recorded the total value of N9.839 trillion and volume at 21,614,846; M-cash with a total value of N381 billion and volume at 119,197; and Central Pay with total value at N2.835 trillion and volume at 398,520. However, the value of cheque transactions within the same period was N2.271 trillion with a total volume of 3,416,537. The CBN has been aggressive in its drive to discourage cash transactions with its Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, saying last Friday that the banking sector regulator would continue to implement the cashless policy in line with its mandate to ensure an efficient payment system. According to Emefiele, contrary to claims in some quarters that many Nigerians would suffer the negative impact of the policy, only about five to 10 per cent of bank customers would be affected. The CBN in a circular last week had announced that from September 18 it would impose three per cent processing fees on withdrawals and two per cent processing fees on lodgments of amounts above N500, 000 for individual accounts. For corporate accounts, banks would charge five per cent processing fees on withdrawals and three per cent processing fee on lodgments of amounts above N3 million. But Emefiele said if the Nigerian economy was to compete effectively with those of developed countries, there was a need to enthrone a payment system that encouraged the use of non-cash channels. He said before the cashless policy was first inaugurated before he assumed office, many stakeholder engagements were done to sensitise Nigerians. According to him, the policy was suspended to allow more payment channels to be developed by banks. \u201cSince the policy was first launched, currency management costs have continued to increase year-on-year at an average annual growth rate of 33 per cent. \u201cNotwithstanding, electronic transactions have increased within the economy. We have provided alternative channels and people have embraced it,\u201d he appended. Meanwhile, the September 2019 Business Expectations Survey Report posted on the central bank\u2019s website at the weekend, showed that at 26.7 index points, respondents expressed optimism on the overall confidence index (CI) on the macroeconomy in September 2019. The business outlook for the period showed greater confidence in the macroeconomy with 59.0 index points. It stated that the optimism on the macroeconomy in the current month was driven by the opinion of respondents from services (14.2 points), industrial (9.7 points), wholesale\/retail trade (2.1 points) and construction (0.6 points) sectors. Further analysis showed that the positive business outlook in September was driven by businesses that are neither import nor export-oriented (21.0 points), both import- and export-oriented (4.3 points), import-oriented (2.9 points), and those that are export-related (0.3 points). It also identified insufficient power supply (65.7 points), high interest rate (56.8 points), unfavourable economic climate (55 points), financial problems (53.9 points), unclear economic laws (52 points), unfavourable political climate (48.9 points), insufficient demand (48.8 points), access to credit (44.4 points) and competition (44.2 points), respectively, as major factors constraining business activity in the current month. Respondent firms expect the naira to appreciate in the current month, next month and next 12 months, as their confidence indices stood at 21.7, 36.0 and 46.9 index points, respectively.