Nigeria hit by shortage of cash

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The Central Bank of Nigeria’s plan to replace the nation’s paper currency with newly designed notes has caused a severe shortage of cash, according to experts and business groups.

This shortage has resulted in widespread business closures and left individuals unable to purchase necessary items. The central bank claims the redesigned 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes, as well as new restrictions on large cash withdrawals, will reduce money laundering and encourage digital payments in the country. However, the transition process has been deemed “rushed” and commercial banks lack the sufficient supply of new notes to meet customer demand.

Critics are skeptical of the push towards a cashless economy, pointing to a history of corruption in the government and a lack of reliability in digital payment systems. In addition, the restriction on cash withdrawals and the limited supply of new notes have created a black market for the selling of the new currency. The shortage has impacted the critical sectors of agriculture and trade and commerce, which heavily rely on cash transactions, especially in rural areas.

Despite the central bank’s goal to curb the use of money to influence the upcoming presidential election, the currency changes are causing significant hardships for the majority of Nigerians who are already facing a 37% increase in inflation rate. The hardships imposed on the population are seen as collateral damage by the political class, according to Tunde Ajileye, a partner at SBM Intelligence firm in Lagos.

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