BusinessDay

Scarcity forces traders to sell naira to PoS agents at premium

…as banks charge N35 on every N1,000

As scarcity of naira notes persists in the country, Point of Sales (PoS) operators have turned to market men/women and filling stations for daily cash supply to sustain their business.

The naira scarcity is forcing traders and fuel attendants who would normally deposit their daily cash sales with money deposit banks at the end of the trading day to sell their cash to PoS agents at a premium.

BusinessDay finds that the traders sell the naira notes (both old and new) to PoS agents who are relatives, friends, church/mosque members, customers, and neighbours among others instead of taking it to the banks to deposit.

“We charge N10,000 on every N100,000 we give to PoS agents,” said a trader who sells wholesale at Mile 12 Market and simply gave his name as Haruna.

This means the PoS agent paid N100 on every N1,000 they source outside the banking system.

Checks also show that PoS operators make arrangements with filling stations to pick up their daily cash for a fee instead of allowing them to deposit it with the banks.

“We buy the naira notes from traders and filling stations because you can’t get money from the banking system,” Folashade Olayinka, a PoS operator in Ketu Market said.

“People are complaining we are charging exorbitant fees but they forget we also buy the naira notes. We need to make our profit as well,” Olayinka explained.

“I paid N10,000 for N100,000, I need to make the money back and my profit.”

Another PoS operator who simply gave his name as Gbenga, said he pays both traders and bank workers to get naira.

“I pay to get it. If it is easy to get then you should go to the bank to get yours,” he said. “How many PoS do you see have the cash to operate their business?” he asked.

Before the scarcity of naira notes, PoS operators were charging N100 on every withdrawal between N1,000 to N5,000 and N200 on the range between N6,000 and N10,000.

BusinessDay surveyed some places in Lagos and Anambra states and found that there is no fixed rate for PoS commission as each operator decides what their charges would be at any time.

It was also discovered that owing to the persistent scarcity and high rate of transaction failures, some businesses, especially traders, are not accepting online transfers for payments.

“What is the use of accepting online payments, when I want to buy goods, I will still use a huge amount to withdraw the money,” said Comfort Okechukwu, a provision dealer, at Eke Awka Market.

“Who is fooling who? If I do it, the profit I gained from the goods I sold will be lost. So, let the customers be the ones to look for the cash, get it and use it to buy from us.”

Read also: Behold, old notes are passing away

Ifunanya Eze, a food vendor said she can only accept online transfers when the customer is willing to pay the extra charges for withdrawing the money from PoS operators.

“I sell a plate of food for N1,000. I accept transfers, but if you must pay through transfer, you will pay N1,200 for a plate because I have to use N200 as the service charge to withdraw the money when I want to buy,” she said.

Not just PoS operators are making a profit from the situation but also money deposit banks.

In Apapa, banks whose Automated Teller Machines (ATM) were dispensing were paying N1,000 each to holders of other ATM cards and charging N35 per withdrawal while their customers could withdraw N10,000.

“We are all just exploiting each other. Since last Friday most banks are now programming their ATMs to be dispensing N2,000 or N1,000 to be charging the N35 per transaction,” said Anthony Chibuzor, an artisan.

President Muhammadu Buhari has, however, promised to look into the new naira notes policy of the Central Bank Nigeria, to avert the sufferings of Nigerians.

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