Nigerians Lament Over Scarcity Of Naira Notes As Buhari Remains Silent
The scarcity of the new naira notes is still hitting Nigerians very hard over a week after the Supreme Court ordered the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allow Nigerians to continue to use the old naira notes until 31 December 2023.
Since the apex court gave the order, president Muhammadu Buhari is yet to address the nation nor issue any statement to inform Nigerians that they can continue to use the old naira notes amid the scarcity of the new notes.
While some banks have reportedly started to give out the old notes (500 and 1000 notes), there are wide reports that commercial drivers, gas stations, retailers, and other businesses have been rejecting the old notes. Hence, most commuters were left stranded in various parts of the country during the weekend.
The distrust in the system has gotten so severe that bank customers are rejecting the old notes in banking halls; even employees are not accepting them since they are finding it difficult to spend the old notes in the market and transit.
Amid the widespread rejection of old notes, the scarcity of new notes is growing more severe across the country. Many people are complaining that it has been extremely difficult for them to get to their places of work and places of business due to the raging scarcity.
To help themselves, bank customers have continued to swarm banks every day in the hopes of receiving new notes.
While others who are fortunate enough to have POS attendees in their areas who have new notes, have continued to pay 20 to 30 percent per withdrawal since they are left with no choice.
According to Punch, Theresa Amadih, a mother of two and employee at a restaurant in Lagos, bemoans the scarcity of the new notes and how it has prevented her from paying for a ride to work.
Isa Abdulkareem, a roadside vendor, claimed he had to resume riding his business motorcycle during the day to obtain cash because the majority of his clients were asking to pay for the meals he provided using online bank transfers.
Abiodun Balogun, a realtor, claims that it has been challenging to travel to his workplace for work.
“I was supposed to go to work on Saturday, but I and several colleagues could not go due to the cash scarcity. Some of our managers had to step in and send messages to our MD to get approval for us to stay back. Monday is almost here and I still do not have the cash to get to work. This is really frustrating. It is telling on everyone”, Balogun lamented.
The situation is serious, according to Oluseye Orekoya, a manager at a payment platform, who also noted that some of his coworkers haven’t been able to afford to get to work in the last three days.
On the other hand, Nigeria lost over $18 billion in productivity in February as a result of the gasoline and currency crises, according to economist Bismarck Rewane.
Rewane, the managing director of the Financial Derivatives Corporation, asserted that Nigeria lost money as a result of the time Nigerians lost standing in line at gas stations and automated teller machines.
“In the last two weeks, about $18bn has been lost in productivity. That is the time lost in going to the ATM, rather than going to work, the time you spend in petrol stations, rather than going to work. That is just the opportunity cost”, he said.