Amidst the scarcity of both new and old naira notes in the country, residents of rural communities have adopted the ancient trade by barter to…

Amidst the scarcity of both new and old naira notes in the country, residents of rural communities have adopted the ancient trade by barter to survive, Daily Trust reports.

Petty traders of perishable goods have also opened a ledger for their customers who are unable to pay for what they buy, hoping that they would sort it out when the cash crunch improves.

Nigerians are experiencing scarcity of the naira following the introduction of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1, 000 notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which fixed February 10 as the deadline to phase out of old notes before some governors dragged the federal government to the Supreme Court that temporarily stopped the process of declaring the old notes illegal tender.

Villagers in Buhari and Damasak towns in Yusufari and Mobbar local government areas of Yobe and Borno states have resorted to trade by barter and using Niger’s CFA franc to transact businesses as naira notes cease to exist in the areas in the last two weeks.

These villages are far into the desert, bordering Diffa Province in Niger Republic.

Residents of the towns said they were already benefiting from the telecommunication and hospital services of the neighbouring country.

One of the residents, Modu Buhari, told our correspondent that a week before the earlier old currency swap deadline lapsed, many people that had reasonable cash deposited the money into their relative’s accounts to avoid losing them.

He said the account owners promised to help them withdraw the new notes to continue with their businesses.

“Unfortunately, we are in the third week now but the relatives still couldn’t withdraw the cash.

“Last week, some of us went to Gaidam with our grains and livestock to sell in exchange for cash for our daily spending, but we got into trouble instead.

“The buyers said they would only pay through bank transfer and none of us have bank accounts.

“In fact, we became stranded because the driver did not have money to refuel the car back home as he was waiting for us to sell our goods and settle him.

“Luckily, one of our customers stood for us before the car was refuelled and we returned home. We are stuck here; nobody goes anywhere.”

He said the situation was worse in adjoining villages because provision stores were forced out of business.

“To get condiments is now a problem. Oil, seasoning, detergent, rice, sugar, salt, matches and other essential items are not available because traders don’t have the cash to buy them,” he said.

He said people in villages had resorted to trade by barter.

“Initially, we would just ask if someone had what you wanted and he would gladly give it to you, but as the situation persisted, we started the exchange of foodstuffs and condiments amongst ourselves, which for now, has brought succour to many of us,” he said.

Another resident of the village, Mohammad Barama, told our correspondent that some residents and traders in border villages started using Niger Republic’s currency (CFA franc) to transact business.

“This has eased our suffering. Unfortunately, we are totally neglected by the Nigerian government; no one considers the kind of hardship we would go through if this policy continues,” he said.

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