New Naira Notes: Nigerians Turn To CFA Francs at Borders as Scarcity of Cash Bites
- Amid the new note naira scarcity, Nigerians in some border communities have resorted to trading in CFA franc
- Traders in Sokoto, Cross River and Taraba states have temporarily adopted the measure to allay the scarcity of naira notes in the areas
- Traders say that most of their assets are kept in CFA and they would convert them back to naira when it becomes available
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Nigerians at border communities now carry out cash transactions in CFA Franc, a currency used by Francophone countries in West Africa and Central Africa, as naira scarcity bites hard.
According to reports, farmers and traders in Mfum, Gurin and Illella, border towns in Cross River, Taraba and Sokoto states respectively, have resorted to the temporary adoption of CFA Franc to mitigate against the hardship caused by the scarcity of new naira notes.
CFA more accessible than Naira
The traders and farmers say the CFA is more accessible than the naira. The traders said trading in CFA is not new but that the scarcity of Nigeria’s legal tender has increased the volume of trade in CFA in the communities.
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Currently, traders and farmers in the communities are keeping their assets in CFA and would convert them back to naira when it becomes available, they said.
The traders say many of them are excluded from Nigeria’s financial system.
A resident of one of the border communities said changing the old naira notes to new ones is tedious because of the locations of banks in the areas.
This is despite claims by the Central Bank of Nigeria that it has deployed and activated 300,000 super agents across the country to bring in financially excluded Nigerians via the Naira Swap Programme.
World Bank reports on financially excluded Nigerians
A World Bank report of 2021 says Nigeria’s banking population increased by 15.6% to 45.5%.
The report indicates that almost 56% of Nigerians are without banking services and are mostly located in rural areas and involved in agriculture.
Other traders in Gurin in Adamawa said the trade will go on whether or not there is an improvement in the availability of new naira notes.
The traders stated that they have witnessed a boom in the trade as the CFA is easily accessible in contrast to the naira.
He noted that traders have increased transactions in CFA franc as it is easily available, noting that the naira is still accepted but has to be the new notes.
“If the new notes are scarce in the cities then you can imagine what the situation will be in border communities,” a resident said.
A tweet by one Sani Ahmad Kaitafi showed images of traders exchanging old naira notes for CFA, stating that both the Illella border in Sokoto and Konni town in the Niger Republic have always transacted in both naira and CFA.
He added that the scarcity of the Nigerian currency has increased the volume of trade in the CFA franc and reduced the trading in the naira.
CBN assures Nigerians on old notes
The newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes became legal tender on December 15, 2022, with the Central Bank of Nigeria fixing January 31, 2023, for the cessation of old notes.
The apex bank has since extended the deadline to February 10, 2023.
Many Nigerians keep vigil at ATMs as the scarcity of the newly redesigned notes bites harder, causing the price of commodities to skyrocket.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele told lawmakers that the banks will accept the old notes beyond the deadline, saying no Nigerians will be left behind.
ISWAP, terrorists ban naira transaction in Lake Chad, makes new rule
Legit.ng reported that the Shura Council of the Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP) has banned naira transactions from farmers and fishermen following the recent move by the Federal Government of Nigeria to redesign the nation's currencies.
PM News reports that the move by the Nigerian government has thrown the terrorist organisation into a state of confusion over the FG's plan.
The Nigerian government has earlier announced its plan to redesign the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes with the new designs hitting the banks by December 15.