Nigerians suffer as cash shortage takes toll on businesses, households

Spread the love

By Tajudeen Atitebi

Lagos, Feb. 18, 2023 – Shortage of physical cash for transactional purposes has brought down Nigerian traders and households on their kneels in the last three days.

The Global Business News (GBN) reports that businesses have slowed down considerably in many parts of Nigeria since Thursday when government announced some landmark decisions on its naira redesign programme.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in the nation-wide broadcast, announced that the two most widely circulated banknotes in Nigeria, the N500 and N1000 notes, had seized to be legal tender since Feb. 10, 2023.

Through this announcement, it was obvious that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has failed woefully in the implementation of its naira redesign programme as Nigerians were anticipating relief through further extension of the deadline for the old notes.

Aside from the CBN, the commercial banks also failed Nigerians by not paying enough new notes to meet the requirements of depositors as directed by the apex bank.

While Nigerians have deposited their old notes in their banks as directed by CBN, they could not get commensurate new notes from the banks for their daily transactions.

The consequence is that that many households have now ran out of cash to make transactions, particularly for their daily needs.

Tunde Salman, a civil servant in Ilorin, Kwara State, said getting to buy little items like bread and other food items was now a problem in Ilorin as traders of these items don’t use banks.

“We have now started buying on credit from our old customers, but they are also complaining of running out of stock. That’s our dilemma for now,” he said.

While sellers complain of low sales, prospective buyers complain of low cash to buy.

Most affected are the Nigerians who don’t use banks and even the poor telecommunication services are frustrating bank transfers for transactions.

Although there are no official statistics, the reality is that many Nigerians have been forced to close their shops in the circumstance.

Madam Ola Adeola, a trader in food items in Lagos, said that the volume of her sales had dropped steadily since the naira redesign programme started.

“People now come and offer to pay by bank transfer which I don’t accept because to withdraw money from banks is another problem.

“I don’t sell much these days and sometimes, I don’t sell at all,” she said.

Muritala Alagba, a mechanic in Egbeda in Lagos State, said he had been finding it difficult to maintain his family of four as the business was dull as people were no longer bringing their vehicle for repair.

“Even if they pay you by bank transfer, from which bank can you withdraw the money, which bank is paying.

“My daily shuttle from my house in Egbeda to Oshodi, my working place and the return journey, is a problem now because bus conductors are insisting that we must pay with new notes, but where are the new notes.

“Also to eat at work is a problem too as nearly all the food hawkers are no longer coming,” he said.

In their desperation to live beyond these hard times, some Nigerians said they found a way out through exchange of goods (barter).

Misitura Lawal, a rice seller in Daleko Market in Lagos, said she now exchanged her rice for any household item she needed from prospective buyers.

She said she no longer received payment by bank transfers as she had been robbed on many occasions by fraudsters.

Some residents in Okitipupa, Ondo State, said they now swap their old naira notes for foodstuffs and condiments from Hausa traders.

They will swap their old N500 and N1000 notes for items like rice, beans, tomatoes, pepper, onions among other food items as well as condiments.

The traders, in turn, will jack up the price of their food items to get commensurate compensation.

Food items formerly sold for N1, 500 and N800, are now sold for N2, 500 and N1, 500, respectively.

The appeal to government is to tread softly in the implementation of the naira redesign programme as many Nigerians are suffering.  (GBN)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *