New naira notes: FCT market women decry low patronage

Market women in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have decried low patronage, attributing it to poor circulation of the new naira notes.

The women told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that the situation had affected their trade adversely.

A correspondent of NAN who visited some of the markets, reports that most of the women had resorted to collecting transfers to enable them make sales, especially those of them selling perishable items.

According to NAN, the naira scarcity has made some of the market women, who hitherto did not have bank  accounts to open one.

At the Garki International Modern Market, Ngozi Kalu, who sells food items, said she had not sold anything for almost two days as her customers complained that they do not have cash and she did not have a bank account.

“When customers come, they complain that they do not have cash to pay and ask if they can transfer.

“I do not have a bank account, so if they do not have the cash to pay me, they go somewhere else to try.

“That is how I have missed so many sales for two days. I wish I had a bank account,” she said.

Another trader simply known as Mama Victor said she had recorded little sales, because she had a bank account buyers were able to transfer to her account.

“Some customers come and ask if they can transfer, so I give them my account number.

“That is the only way I have been making sales because there is no money anywhere. Even the PoS operators do not have money.”

At the Wuse Market, Mrs Sarah Benjamin said, “before if you come to my place at this time I would have made a lot of sales and you will see people buying carrots, peas, pepper, etc, but today is not like that.

“Many customers say they do not have cash to pay. One of the customers who did transfer was debited but the money has not reflected in my account, that is another challenge,” she said.

Hannah John, who sells perishable items, however, applauded the Federal Government’s cashless policy, said it would make more women open bank accounts.

“I am happy about what the government is doing because customers are paying money directly to my account so I will go back home carrying very little cash on me.

“Also, it will encourage more market women to open bank accounts because those who do not have are losing out,” she said.

A shopper, Tosin Omodele, said she had to pay for the items she bought via transfer because she did not have cash.

“The PoS operators are not working because they do not have money, at the ATMs in the market there is no cash, so the only way I could pay for my items was through transfer.

“Also, it took like 20 minutes to confirm from the seller that they have received the money, so that is another issue.

“I appeal to the government to do something about this situation, Nigerians are suffering. See how difficult shopping has become,” she said.

Another shopper, Efosa Paul, narrated how she had to collect cash from one of the market women to pay for her items at an extra fee.

“I needed cash to buy some items and one of the market women offered to give me cash at a fee. She gave me N5,000 but I transferred N5,500 into her account.

“Some people are making brisk business from this whole situation we are in.”

At the Utako Modern Market, Kubwa Village Market and other markets visited, the situation was not different.