From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Traders at Nkwo Nnewi market are lamenting the hardship they are experiencing due to short supply of the redesigned naira notes.
The traders blamed the short supply on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which they said should not have announced the January 31 deadline when the commercial banks, according to them, cannot release enough of the new naira notes to their customers for transactions.
One of the traders and Chairman of the Fairly Used Motor Dealers Association, at the market, Mr Chinedu Enyeribe, said business activities had almost been dragged to a halt.
When Daily Sun visited the market, many of traders were at various banks to deposit their cash with difficulty.
He said his members had complained that banks were not keen to receive cash deposits from them which he said further aggravated their plight.
“Even the Point of Sale (POS) operators are no longer receiving old currency cash deposits here. Our traders now accept small cash payments for any business transaction. If the amount involved is big we demand money transfer.
“The new naira notes are nowhere to be found. Nobody has come to my shop with the new notes for business. Enough of it is not in circulation and I don’t think banks even have enough of the notes.
However, we don’t support any extension for the deadline of January 31. We know the target could be to forestall vote buying or other forms of election rigging in the forthcoming general elections. We support Mr President who said there was no going back on the deadline.
But the CBN should push more of the new notes into circulation to ease business activities. In the same vein, President of Fairly Used Motorcycle Dealers Association (FUNMDA), Nnewi, Mr Sunday Okoli, said the new naira policy had crippled their business transactions leading to a breakdown of business activities among the traders.
“I went to withdraw N150,000 from a bank and they paid me with old naira notes. When I complained they told me it was the one they had.
“Both people buying and those selling now demand money transfer. And not everybody can do the transfer. We are facing a very difficult time now.
“Why should the CBN give a deadline when it’s obvious that the new naira notes are not enough in circulation? Poor masses are at the receiving end.
“If they say it’s to checkmate election, it doesn’t make sense. They know those who can possibly hoard the currency notes, they can go after such people other than suffering the poor Nigerians.
“This may be counterproductive because you can only go to vote when you feed yourself and perhaps, pay for your transport to the polling station, “ he argued.