Many Nigerian households were not able to stock up their homes with food items ahead of the gubernatorial and house of assembly elections due to the unavailability of cash in the banks.
Five days after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered banks to pay and accept old naira in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling.
The Supreme Court ruled on March 3, 2023, that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 remained legal tender till December 31, 2023.
Our correspondent spoke with some women who voiced their frustration over the impact of the cash crunch.
Chioma Enwereuzo, a housewife, said “I am looking for money to buy food items for my family but I have not seen. See my ATM card, please if you see where I can buy cash tell me.”
“I didn’t go to the bank because even PoS operators said they have not been able to get cash from the bank. My boy bought N5,000 at the cost of N1,000 that is why I am able to buy these food items”, Mama Sonia, who resides in the Amuwo Odofin area, said.
Findings by BusinessDay show that traders at popular Mile 12 Market, Lagos, witnessed increased trading activities as consumers make quick shopping before the gubernatorial election shutdown of activities.
The traders noted that they recorded more sales pre-gubernatorial than they did before the presidential and senatorial elections owing to the recirculation of old naira notes.
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“People are buying more now than they did during the presidential election because there is now more money in circulation,” Anita James, a provision seller at Mile 12 Market said.
“I recorded more sales today than I did in the whole of last week and the week before the presidential election,” she said, noting that most of her customers she hasn’t seen in weeks since the naira scarcity worsened are not coming to make purchases.
According to her, consumers are not shopping like before but better since the banks commenced recirculation of the old N500 and N1,000 notes.
Dotun Balogun, a spice seller noted that his sales have improved marginally in the last two days before the gubernatorial election owing to more notes in circulation.
“People are buying more now because they can get cash unlike before when they can’t even get N500 from the banks. Now you can get at least N5,000,” he said.
Angela Oriahi, a mother of three who was at the market to make a purchase said she is buying more than she has bought in the last three weeks owing to her ability to get N20,000 old notes from the bank.
“Before now, I was having a serious issue buying fresh tomatoes as Mallam does not accept transfers. They always want cash, so I buy very little to mix with tomato paste.”
“But today, I bought so much to stock in my refrigerator because I could get N20,000 from my bank.”
Our correspondent visited some banks in Lagos and found that they have exhausted their cash. Most banks paid from the money in their vault while waiting for supply from the CBN.
All efforts to get the CBN to respond to this failed as its spokesman could not answer his call.