Businesses in Kano, the commercial nerve centre of sub-saharan Africa, especially small scale, may be affected as scarcity of cash hits the state in the coming days, if operators of Point Of Sale, POS, shut down their outlets due to paucity of the new naira notes.
BizPoint, an online business newspaper reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, after redesigning N1000, N500 and N200 naira notes, has slated January 31 as deadline to stop collecting the old currencies.
However, the decision had not gone down well with majority of Nigerians, especially business people, who argue that the apex bank should drop the deadline and allow the old and new naira notes circulate together until all the old ones are recalled to the banks.
But, in Kano, the second most populous state in Nigeria, some operators of POS have threatened to close their shops on or before January 27, citing scarcity of the redesigned naira notes.
Some operators, who spoke with BizPoint, on Sunday, said they are not able to access the new naira notes either from their agents or banks, while the January 31 deadline is fast approaching.
According to the operators, even their agents have not been able to access the new notes at banks because they are yet to be available, that is why they have decided to shut the businesses until when the CBN release sufficient redesigned currency in circulation.
They also lamented that the new over-the-counter withdrawal limit introduced by the apex bank would affect their businesses because they could not afford to pay the charges if they are to withdraw cash above the approved N500,OOO and N5 million for individual and corporate organizations respectively.
“As i am talking to you now, we are always receiving deposit of old notes. For instance, in a deposit of N1 million, hardly a POS operator receive the new notes of N5,000 from a customer. Let me tell you that even our agents are not accessing the new currency at banks, in fact, even the banks do not have the new currency. They are still dealing with the old ones,” a POS operator, who identified himself as Malam Aminu told our correspondent.
“We are still receiving the old notes of N1000, N500 and N200 but we are not getting the new ones. The CBN has set 31 January deadline to stop accepting the old notes, which is why we have decided to close our shops by 26 or 27 January in order to avoid losses,” he said.
Another POS operator, Muhammadu Aminu, said he is closing his business by January 27 because he cannot afford to continue accepting old notes as the CBN’s deadline draws nearer.
According to him, almost 100 percent of his customers make deposit transactions with the old notes, noting that he cannot continue to accept the currency as he might incur losses.
He noted that if he continue to receive deposit transaction of the old notes, he would lose heavily as the banks have now stopped receiving even the mutilated currencies from the POS operators.
“I must close my business because I will no longer accept deposit transactions by January 27. If I continue to receive deposits, especially with old notes, I will incur loses heavily because the January 31 deadline is fast approaching.
“The banks will not accept the old one beyond the 31st January. Let me tell you that these banks have stopped accepting mutilated old naira notes from us, so you know they will not accept the old ones from us after the deadline.
“Nobody deposit even N10,000 of this new notes so far, because they are not adequate in circulation. So, I will stop receiving the old notes and by extension, I will close my business because no customer will bring the new currency for deposit because they are not adequate in circulation,” Aminu said.
Mannir Adamu, another POS operator, said even if he will not close his business, he would be doing skeletal operation.
According to him, the new CBN policies have not been favorable to POS operators in the country, despite their significant contribution towards making bank transactions easier to Nigerians.
He also noted that the withdrawal limit would also be a snag to their business, adding that “I don’t see this business survive in the near future.”
Adamu therefore, called on the CBN to look into the outcry of Nigerians to review the policies in a way that would improve the economy, rather than collapsing it.
Some residents, who spoke with BizPoint expressed fear over what they described as “unfortunate development”.
Hassan Kwari said “these POS operators are very important to small scale business owners and individuals. You can access money or deposit cash at your door step. You can even call them to your office or other place of works when you cannot go there.
“they have indeed simplified banking for us. So, if they shut down business, people will suffer, banks would be highly congested. Businesses would be affected, if not collapsed. The situation has been complicating. The CBN should do something about this,” he warned.