Nigerian Cash Crisis: Benue State Residents Resort to Barter Trade

Faced with cash shortages caused by the central bank’s currency policies, traders in the Nigerian state of Benue have reportedly resorted to barter trading. Traders from the state have implored the Nigerian government to consider rescinding the Central Bank of Nigeria’s naira redesign policy. The Nigerian Supreme Court has said it will pass its judgment on a suit challenging the naira redesign policy on March 3.

Barter Trade Helping Businesses Stay Afloat

The cash shortages sparked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s so-called naira redesign policy have seen traders in the Nigerian state of Benue resort to barter, a local report has said. The report added that some traders, especially those without bank accounts, began accepting payment in the form of goods or produce shortly after the passage of the old naira demonetization deadline.

As previously reported by News, the CBN’s botched attempt to replace old naira banknotes with newly designed ones has sparked unrest in some Nigerian states. Many Nigerian politicians, including presidential hopeful Atiku Abubakar, have pleaded for an extension of the deadline.

In response to the pleas, the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, who has backed the CBN’s currency reforms, only agreed to extend the life of the 200-naira banknotes. As a result of the CBN and President Buhari’s refusal to extend the lifespan of the other banknotes, cash-strapped Benue state residents like Felix Uwakwe, a foodstuffs trader, are accepting payment in the form of other goods.

“Bartering is the way out of the present situation we have found ourselves in. We are engaging in some form of barter trade. I call it some form of trade by barter because when traders, especially people from the rural areas, come to sell their goods in town and are not able to collect the exact money for their traded goods due to the lack of the new redesigned Naira notes, they rather want to go into bartering the value of their goods with what the traders to whom they sold their goods have to give them in return.”

Growing Calls for Nigerian Government Intervention

Uwakwe, however, conceded that barter trade is not an ideal method of settling transactions. He implored the CBN to consider issuing more new naira banknotes as this can put an end to the “unnecessary hardship” that Nigerian residents are going through.

Another Benue state resident, Grace Ordah, is quoted in the report similarly asking the Nigerian government to heed the calls to rescind the CBN’s currency policies.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Supreme Court recently said it would only make its ruling in a case in which the governors from the All Progressives Congress (APC) political party are challenging the naira redesign policy on March 3, just days after the country’s hotly contested elections.

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Terence Zimwara

Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Lukasz D Forster /

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