Sunday, March 26, 2023

Abuja entrepreneurs lament low patronage over scarcity of new notes

The traders urged the CBN to intensify efforts to ensure that money circulates to all parts of the country through the PoS.

• February 5, 2023
Traders at Lagos Trade Fair Complex
Traders used to illustrate the story

Small-scale industrialists and entrepreneurs in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have continued to count their losses following the lingering new naira notes scarcity.

They told journalists on Sunday in Abuja that the situation was hurting their businesses as they continue to record low patronage.

According to Solomon Vongfa, the national president of the Association of Small-Scale Industrialists (NASSI), the redesigning of the naira is actually a good policy but the implementation came at the wrong time.

Mr Vongfa, who expressed concern that the naira scarcity was adversely affecting commercial activities in the country urged the federal government to quickly address the situation.

He said that the businesses of most members of the association were going down thus bringing hardship to them.

“It is not a palatable thing. It has really affected a lot of people as so many businesses are down because of this situation.

“Some people may not be able to recover from this experience that they have had because many businesses are shut down,’’ he said.

Mr Vongfa urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to intensify efforts to ensure that money circulates to all parts of the country through the PoS.

Similarly, Abdulrasheed Yerima, the national president, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) said the scarcity of the naira notes harms the operations of SMEs in the country.

He said the policy had affected several businesses, as owners are unable to pay staff.

“Moreso, there are no banks and poor network coverage where they are operating, therefore, they cannot operate optimally.

“Some of them don’t have accounts, especially those in the rural areas and some of them cannot afford a smartphone to enable an electronic transfer.

“Their businesses depend on daily activities in the rural areas and they are also battling with the issue of power supply, so it is a lot of stress for them and it is affecting their businesses negatively,’’ Mr Yerima said.

He urged the federal government to allow the continued use of the old naira notes while also allowing for a gradual phasing out of the notes.

Major Anosike, a provision shop owner in Wuse Market, complained of low patronage since the policy was implemented.

“Whether we like it or not, we cannot do away with cash generally. At least there is a certain percentage of Nigerians that still need cash to run their businesses,’’ Mr Anosike said.

Similarly, Beatrice Erekosima at Garki Model Market said she mostly sells via electronic money transfer.

“But when I go to restock my shop, I cannot easily withdraw the money to buy my goods and this is affecting my business,’’ she said.

Cika Deezim, an economist said sufficient time was not provided to enable people to plan for the implementation of the naira redesign policy.

Mr Deezim also faulted that the policy was implemented at the same time when the country was going into general elections.

According to him, investors won’t bring in their money in the election year, as between January 2022 to December 31, 2022, there have been a lot of setbacks. 


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