The scarcity of the new and old naira notes is crippling activities of Bureau de Change operators in Lagos as the country approaches the February 10 deadline for the complete phasing out of the current N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes.
CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, had assured the release of sufficient new banknotes with teams of enforcers to ensure that banks release them into circulation.
However, BDC operators are finding it difficult to access cash despite the extension of the swap window, forcing many of them to adopt electronic money transfer with its attendant transaction cost and inconveniences for customers.
A visit to some of the operators in Allen Avenue in Ikeja showed numerous customers struggling to get Naira equivalent of Dollar, Pound sterling as most operators complained of non-availability of Naira with them.
One of the traders who spoke with Blueprint, said despite his relationship with his bank, he has not been able to get adequate cash to meet his customers’ demand.
“I have been visiting the bank to get cash for three days without success. What I do now is to do transfers for my customers.
“Once the customer brings in his Dollar, I transfer the equivalent exchange in naira to them since there is no physical cash at the moment now,” he added.
Another operator at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Alhaji Hassan, said he is going virtually cashless when the demand for cash is compared to what is available.