Petty traders rejoice over re-introduction of old Naira notes


Several petty traders in Nigeria have said that their businesses have started to boom again following the reintroduction of the old naira notes as legal tender. 

A tea vendor, Sani Isiaka, said the measure had given him relief from the consistent online banking failures from customers.

Isiaka, who happily brought out some old naira notes which he was paid with, said he is no longer experiencing difficulties with his bakery and suppliers over money.

An okpa seller, Okeke Queen, and her counterpart Okenyike Chinyere commended the policy, but added that they still encounter some challenges with some of their raw materials supplies in the village markets who are not aware of the return of the old naira notes.

A food vendor behind Keke Napep Park, Mrs Debora Olapajo, also expressed joy over the move, saying she had incurred losses from failed transfer transactions from the few customers who patronised her before the reversal of the policy.

A fruit seller, Murtala Abdullahi, said his business has picked up, adding that he no longer encounters challenges from fruit dealers at the Zuba Fruit market compared to weeks back.

It was however, learnt that some commercial transporters still reject the old notes, even though the CBN has said the old notes remain legal tender till December 31.

Speaking to some commercial transporters, they said they could not accept the old notes when the fuel stations are still rejecting them to the reported difficulties they experienced in meeting the CBN condition of portal application for depositing the money.

Mixed feelings have continued to trail the acceptance of old naira notes being reissued to customers by commercial banks in Benue State.

The commercial banks in the state had on Monday started issuing the old N500 and N1000 notes to customers occasioned by the Supreme Court’s order that the currency remained legal tender until December 31, this year.

Our source who went around town reports that while some traders and business owners have started accepting the currency, other are yet to comply with the court directive.

Regina Ameh, a bean cake (akara) seller, said she was not collecting the money at first after the pronouncement of the Supreme Court to avoid a repeat of what happened to her when President Muhammadu Buhari in his broadcast in February declined to extend the use of the old naira as legal tender.

“It’s just today (Friday) that I started accepting the old money because I’m now sure that Buhari won’t come up with a contrary directive. I suffered to deposit the old notes in the bank in February after the president announced that it was no longer  legal tender.

“Even my business continued to suffer. Although, the scarcity of naira still continues, however, the situation now is better. I hope it will improve by next week,” Ameh said.

Similarly, Mathew Felix, a vulcanizer, expressed mixed feelings over the reintroduction of the old naira notes as legal tender as in his estimation, the notes were still scarce while it had affected cost of commodities in some ways.

Felix said he still maintained the normal charges for services rendered to his customers but same cannot be said for some commodities he usually bought from the market.

He explained, “Traders are charging higher when you either pay them through POS or transfer. They will collect as much as between N200 and N500 as extra charges on purchases.

“Also, some traders refused to collect the old notes from me while others collected the money, but I have noticed a relief from the cash crunch as patronage has increased unlike before when my customers could hardly pay for services. As for me, I accept the old notes.”

Babajide Peter, who was paid N10,000 in old notes of N500 across the counter at a UBA branch in Makurdi, told newsmen that the queue at the bank remains worrisome.

Peter said it was still difficult to get into the banks to make withdrawal even as the long queue to use the ATM seemed an impossible mission.

“They are only paying a maximum of N10000 with old notes in the bank. I didn’t have any challenge paying a commercial motorcyclist with the currency, though some are still rejecting the money. But there is no cash in other places,” he added.

However, petty traders are still lamenting the scarcity of the old notes, with some of them saying it had affected their businesses in no small measure.

Lucy Michael, a garri dealer, said for the past two months, she hasn’t been able to restock due to scarcity of both old and new naira notes.

She explained that traders in the rural areas refused electronic payments while insisting on selling their products only on the payment of cash.

“I have not been able to raise cash up to at least N200, 000 to buy goods so, I have remained at home doing nothing since then. Now that the old notes have been reintroduced, I still can’t cash that amount of money.

“More worrisome is the fact that the locals have increased the prices of commodities following the directive for them to accept the old notes. This federal government policy has destroyed my business and caused a lot of hardship for my family,” Michael lamented.

In the meantime, the reintroduction of the old naira notes appeared to have caused a hike in prices of commodities instead of reduction, thereby affecting small scale businesses adversely.

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