By Gami Tadanyigbe
Some petty traders and commuters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have decried the scarcity of N100 notes and other smaller denominations in the country.
Speaking in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, they described the development as an `impediment’ to their businesses.
They said the situation was worrisome and called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to take steps to ensure the availability of more of the denominations.
Mr Musa Haliru, a commercial bus driver in Gwagwalada, said he found it very difficult to give change to passengers whenever they brought N1,000 note for payment of transport fares.
“This issue of smaller denomination is giving us problem at the garage when giving out change to passengers.
“The N100 notes in circulation are very old and looks very dirty and the smaller currency are hard to get.
“Small denominations like N100, N50 and N20 notes are scarce and not much in circulation these days.
“When passengers bring out N1,000 notes to pay for their transport fare, it becomes a problem finding change.
“If the government can print more of smaller denominations, I think it will reduce the difficulties we are facing at the garage,’’ Haliru said.
Mrs Helen Eze, a tomatoes and pepper seller, said that majority of her customers always bring bigger denominations to buy ordinary pepper, and she finds it difficult to give them change.
According to her, the commercial banks are not helping matters as they regularly give out larger currencies to customers.
“The issue of smaller denominations is becoming a problem to traders in the market, especially those of us that sell food items and perishable goods.
“Sometimes, when customers bring out higher denominations to buy something small, we normally do not sell to them because of change and we are the ones at loss.
“We are pleading with the banks to make smaller notes available and save our businesses,” she said.
Similarly, motorcycle operators in Kuje Area Council described the situation as worrisome as they found it very difficult to give change to their passengers.
The Chairman of Kuje Traders Association, Mr Musa Umar, called on the CBN to print more of N100 notes and other smaller denominations to address the scarcity.
The Acting Director, Corporate Communications of CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor had said that lower denomination notes had shorter lifespan due to the high rate at which it changes hands.
He said the apex bank planned to print more money, especially the lower denominations to ease pressure on the naira notes already in circulation. (NAN)