Naira scarcity: business owners count losses as failed e-transactions rise

Abuja—Business owners in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) say they are suffering losses as a result of the rise in failed electronic banking transactions.

In separate interviews with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, they commended the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) but lamented that its timing was taking a toll on businesses.

They said the rise in poor network connections and declined transactions was making them lose a lot of customers and money.

They said the apex bank ought to have collaborated with relevant agencies to improve on existing internet infrastructure that would accommodate heavy traffic before implementing the policy.

They added that the naira shortage was affecting a lot of businesses that are trying to pick up after the huge setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

The entrepreneurs said unless something urgent was done to ameliorate the situation, businesses would begin to fold up.

Chiamaka Eze, a seller of beverages, said she made only few sales at the weekend, adding that most customers left after several attempts to make cash transfers failed.

Also speaking, Judith Uzo, a cloth seller, said there is a need for government to work on the infrastructure that would accommodate the number of people using electronic channels.

A shoe seller at Wuse Market also said that he did not make many sales at the weekend because only few customers were able to make online transfers.

He said it was important for the CBN to make naira notes available to enable customers pay with cash.

Meanwhile, a customer simply identified as Henry said he could not purchase all the items he budgeted for at the Wuse market.

He said he had made several transfers but they didn’t go through.

He said he had been inundated with calls from two business operators for transactions he made at the weekend.

“Something urgent needs to be done by CBN about the situation because it is bringing distrust, losses and in some cases double payment for transactions that one had been debited for,” Henry said

“It is a serious matter that deserves the needed attention from relevant authorities because I see no reason why anybody should lose his or her hard earned money to failed transactions.”

He said the rise in failed transactions had equally crashed prices of goods in the market, particularly perishable goods.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently announced the extension of the validity of old N200 notes till April 10.

He also directed the CBN to recirculate the old N200 notes to ease the ongoing cash crunch.

A few hours after the directive, Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, met with 15 heads of commercial banks on the matter and assured Nigerians that the old N200 notes will be made available immediately.

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