MICRO, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operators have lamented the negative impact of the scarcity of lower naira denomination on their businesses, urging the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sustain the direct distribution of the lower denominations.
Speaking to Financial Vanguard, they complained that the scarcity of N5, N10, N20 and N50 notes is not only real but acute, leading to loss of sales, and quarrel with customers. Consequently they urged the CBN to sustain the direct disbursement of lower naira denomination to traders, which it commenced last week in Abuja. Mrs. Ramota Adeyanju, a petty trader opposite Ajangbadi High School, in Ojo local government, Lagos, said, “The scarcity of lower denomination especially N10, N20 and N50 is seriously affecting my business. As you can see I am a petty trader in this school. Sometimes students go away with my money when I can’t give them their balance with a promise that they would bring my money. They do but not all the time. So I decided to collect their money and tell them to come back for their balance. It worked for a while but I discovered that some students collect their balance twice. “This limits sales and makes me record losses. In this business we only earn less profit (N20) from a dozen of biscuits or a pack of sweet or chewing gum. The banks and the CBN should look into this issue to save our businesses and economy at large.” However, another petty trader, Mr. Usman Abdulkareem, said the scarcity of lower naira denomination doesn’t affect his business but the mutilated notes does. “The only problem I am experiencing is that of the mutilated notes, faded and burnt polymer notes that are in circulation. The government should release new notes as most customers reject the bad ones and this tends to hinder sales.” On his part, Mr. Soyinka Akande, a manager in one of the popular eateries, said, “Our business is being challenged with the scarcity of N50, N100 and N200. Sometimes our cashiers leave the counter to source for lower naira denomination leaving customers unserved. The impatient customers collect their money and leave. They see it as fraud. This limits our daily sales. Sometimes we urge customers to use the Point of Sale (POS) terminal to save us the time of sourcing for their balance. Some of them reject this option saying, “do you know if we have money in our account.” Also lamenting, Mr. Patrick Ogbonna, a KeKe NAPEP operator, said, “The N100 note is very scarce to the extent that we do wait for passengers to board other vehicles in other for them to pay us. The sad part of it is that the N100 in circulation is very tattered and passengers reject them when given to them. The CBN should issue quality minted currency.” Mr. Nosa Ogedengbe, a commercial motorcyclist, said, “The situation is very serious in this area. The denomination giving us problem is the N100. There is no N100 in circulation. The ones in circulation are mutilated. It affects my business. During rush hours, I would be sourcing for N100 instead of carrying passengers. The CBN should do something about the situation. They should release new notes.” But the Director of Currency Operations, CBN, Mrs. Priscilla Eleje, blamed the scarcity of lower naira denomination on unscrupulous members of the society. Speaking in Abuja at the commencement of direct disbursement of lower currency denominations to traders, she said that N50, N20, N10 and N5 notes would be channelled to traders through their associations in markets across the nation. “The CBN will intervene on a weekly basis in the immediate and later respond based on demand”, she said.
Date: 5th March, 2018