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Naira scarcity lingers, traders ration cash


Naira NotesSome grassroots farmers and petty traders have expressed frustration over the lingering cash crunch in the country, saying the unfortunate incident has been taking a toll on their businesses.

Some farmers and traders who spoke to The PUNCH said they stopped keeping their cash in the banks to avoid the funds getting trapped.

Small and medium-scale enterprise associations who spoke to our correspondent said the cash crunch would further weaken the government’s efforts to drive financial inclusion, especially at the grassroots.

A farmer in Igboho area of Oyo State, Mr Dele Bamigboye, said, “Many of those who bought from my farm produce have not paid me. They said they could not get money from the banks. It is affecting my business. I sell my things in cash and I have someone who helps me to collect the monies and keep in her bank account when it is much. Now, I cannot get cash because my monies are trapped.”

Another trader in Ogidi area of Ilorin simply identified as Mama Kudi said, “I am selling to only those who have cash to pay. I maintain this position because if they send money to my account, I cannot access cash from the PoS, and banks are rationing their cash. I need cash to buy goods and do my transactions. I am not taking money to the bank.”

Despite assurances from the Central Bank of Nigeria that there is enough cash in the economy, Nigerians have continued to decry the cash scarcity, as many Automated Teller Machines lack funds while banks are rationing cash over-the-counter

Speaking on the impact of the cash crunch on financial inclusion drive, the President of the Association of Small Business Owners in Nigeria, Dr Femi Egbesola, said it would have a negative effect.

He said, “People are trying to get their businesses structured and take their monies to the bank. With what is happening now, the confidence is eroded, especially at this festive period. People, mostly in the micro sectors, need cash for their daily transactions.

“It is very unfortunate that some of them had to take their monies to the bank, not knowing that a thing like this would happen, and when they are expecting to get their monies from the banks, they are unable to withdraw it.

“A lot of transactions in the economy still go with cash. Grass root business is still cash dependent, and when there is no cash, there will be apathy in going to the bank to lodge their funds.”

The Vice President, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, South-West Region, Solomon Aderoju, said, the cash crunch would affect the confidence of those at the grassroots in the banking sector.

He said, “Financial inclusion is to engender opening of accounts to ensure that you don’t keep your money under your pillow. It is also to help the SMEs to have a structured business, and also to control money in circulation. But with what is happening now, the confidence is lost. People will not have the confidence to keep their monies in the banks.”

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