The rejection of old notes by transport operators, fuel stations, traders, and other businesses continued over the weekend, leaving many bank customers, workers and commuters stranded in various parts of the country.
Several people found very difficult to go to their workplaces and business places as the scarcity of the new naira notes bites harder amid a mass rejection of the old notes.
Deposit Money Banks had last week begun to pay their customers the old N1,000 and N500 notes but a lack of official approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria led to mass rejection of the old currencies by businesses and individuals.
Several commuters, who spoke with our correspondents, said the worsening naira crisis had got to a near unbearable situation with many workers already missing work due to lack of cash to go to their offices.
A Lagos-based lawyer, Enitan Ogunfuwa, told The PUNCH that since the naira notes scarcity began, arriving early at her office in Ikeja, Lagos has become difficult.
A well-dressed young girl, who simply identified herself as Sola, told our reporter how she had been trekking from Cele Express on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway to Jakande Gate at Oke-Afa, Ejigbo, Lagos due to scarcity of cash. Several petty traders have also decried huge losses as a result of low patronage.
The cash crunch continued days after the Supreme Court delivered a ruling in the naira redesign suit and extended the validity of old notes to December 31, 2023.
Despite the pronouncement by the Supreme Court, the Central Bank of Nigeria had yet to make a pronouncement to approve the use of the old notes as legal tender as of Sunday.
Also, the Federal Government had yet to comment on the Supreme Court judgment even though the Attorney General of the Federation was served a copy of the Supreme Court ruling on Friday.
Customers have kept besieging banks on a daily basis with the hope of getting new notes.
More Nigerians have also continued to share their experiences on the scarcity of the new notes.
A mother of two, Theresa Amadih, who works at a Lagos eatery, laments the naira scarcity and how it has rendered her unable to afford transport fare to her workplace.
A roadside trader, Isa Abdulkareem, said he had to return to operating his commercial motorcycle during the day to get cash, as most of his customers were offering to pay for the meals he served them with online bank transfers.
According to a realtor, Abiodun Balogun, it has been difficult getting to his office for work.
“I was supposed to go to work on Saturday, but I and a number of colleagues could not go due to the cash scarcity. Some of our managers had to step in and send messages to our MD to get approval for us to stay back. Monday is almost here and I still do not have cash to get to work. This is really frustrating. It is telling on everyone”, he lamented.
A manager at a payment platform, Oluseye Orekoya, described the situation as a dire one, adding that some of his colleagues could not afford to come to the office in the past three days.
An economist, Bismarck Rewane, had in February said Nigeria lost about $18bn in productivity to the naira and fuel scarcity.
Rewane, the managing director of the Financial Derivatives Company, stated that the time that Nigerians spent queuing at Automated Teller Machines, fuel stations instead of being at work was costing the nation.
“In the last two weeks, about $18bn has been lost in productivity. That is the time lost in going to the ATM, rather than going to work, the time you spend in petrol stations, rather than going to work. That is just the opportunity cost”, he said.
Meanwhile, several motorists, fuel stations and traders continued on Sunday to reject the old notes.