As Nigerians continue to struggle to get the newly designed naira notes, the informal sector of the economy is bearing the brunt of the policy. Many businesses are experiencing low turnover and are being forced to make painful concessions before they can make sales.
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter spoke to grain traders in Katsina State and they said the scarcity of the naira note has taken a serious toll on their businesses and they are now being forced to cut prices to make sales.
In some of the weekly markets this reporter found out the price for those paying with cash differs from those paying through bank transfers.
Last October, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced it was redesigning N1,000, N500 and N200 naira notes to steam terrorism and revive the economy.
The deadline for the use of the old note was 31 January after a shortage of the new notes resulted in outrage in parts of the country, the CBN extended the deadline to 10 February 2023. The Supreme Court subsequently ordered the CBN to suspend the 10 February deadline.
“It’s because of the trouble one has to go through before he gets the cash after it is transferred to him, so we add the price with at least, N1,500,” a market leader in Sheme Market in Faskari Local Government area, Mustapha Ibrahim told PREMIUM TIMES.
“But overall, the prices have fallen down generally and that’s because people don’t have money at hand and we need to sell and eat,” he added.
A soya beans merchant, Abdurrazaq Soli, who does business at weekly markets including Jikamshi, Danja and Bakori said he had no option but to cut the price because he needed cash due to the nature of his business and his customers and workers.
He said a bag (100kg) of soya beans that was sold for N33,000 before the deadline is now being sold at N21,000 cash and N25,000 through transfer.
“We have no option now than to slash the prices because we need the cash to settle some of our labourers who loads the grains. Most workers don’t have accounts, so how do you pay them? We accept the cash and desperately slash the price just to sell and get the money. Not every one of us accepts bank transfers, so when we do so, we increase the price,” he said.
Mr Kafin Soli said the situation is affecting the business because most of those who were farmers would be at loss.
“The prices of everything had gone high. We bought fertilizer, seeds and insecticides at a high cost. We paid labourers, we hired equipment for work on our farms, so when you analyze everything you’ll see that we’re running at a loss because we’re not even thinking of making back the money invested in the business not to talk of making profits,” Mr Soli added.
At Sheme weekly market, those paying with cash can buy a bag of Soya beans for N22,000 (cash). Those who intend to pay via bank transfers are charged N24,000 for the bag. A 100kg of guinea corn is being sold at N13,000 to those paying with cash and N14,500 to those paying via electronic transfer. Maize is sold at N18,000 for cash customers and N19,500 for those paying with transfers.
At Faskari market, Ibrahim Bawa, a trader told PREMIUM TIMES that as of Tuesday, the prices were falling which he said came to them with mixed feelings.
He said while the people buying grains and other commodities might be happy because of the crash in price, the sellers and farmers would bear the brunt because traders are selling at a loss.
“The traders have no option, though some of them also refused to sell at the price and instead took their grains back home because the loss would be too much on them,” he said.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999