Kaduna businesses crumble as traders lament scarcity of naira notes: Report

Traders at Central Market in Kaduna have lamented the scarcity of the old and new naira notes, attributing it to the cause of low patronage in recent times.

The traders on Wednesday said they had deposited 99 per cent of their monies in banks to keep up to the initial deadline of the old naira denominations.

They lamented that after depositing their cash, it became difficult and sometimes impossible to get the new currencies to continue their businesses due to long queues at automated teller machines (ATMs) loaded with small amounts of money across the state.

The traders alleged that some banks also ran out of cash, even at pay points inside the banks.

A trader, Bashirat Muhammad, who sells kitchen utensils, said patronage had reduced drastically. She said that some of her customers liked to patronise her but would always say they did not have cash at hand.

Ms Muhammad noted that it was not a problem because she accepted transfers despite the increasing network challenges.

“The problem is how to withdraw the little I made from my business because banks are not putting enough money at ATMs. The long queues alone are something to worry about,” she explained. “When you finish exhausting energy at the ATM queues, suddenly they will be unable to dispense cash because they have been exhausted by other customers.”

Ms Muhammad added, “Before the deadline for the old naira notes denominations, I took all my old notes to the bank, now to even get them again is a serious problem. Yesterday, I had to borrow money from someone for my transport fare to go back home.”

Another trader in Kantin Kwari Motor Park, all within the Central Market, Mrs Elizabeth Auta, who sells food items, also lamented low patronage, saying that people no longer bought things the way they used to.

A buyer in the market, who identified herself as Mama Blessing, said, “I have been in this market since morning to buy things but because I don’t have cash, I couldn’t buy what I wanted. I went to withdraw, (but) some of the ATMs were not dispensing cash. I don’t know what to do because my children need to eat food when they come back from school.”

Also speaking, a point of sale (POS) operator, Salisu Yahya, also complained about the scarcity of both the new and old naira notes, noting that it is very difficult to get cash from banks.

He said, “On Monday, I was at the ATM before 6:00 a.m., (and) after spending more than four hours there, I couldn’t get cash. I had to go to another ATM.”

He appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure the availability of new naira notes, not to push Nigerians into more suffering.


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