When the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) finally announced its cash swap policy, stylishly ushering in the cashless policy in the process, little did people foresee the level of hardship and unease of doing business that will follow it.
Today, it will be an understatement to mention that the consequences of the cashless policy have been literally fatal to both individuals and businesses.
Consequently, no longer able to stand the excruciating pressures and challenges of the cashless policy, small business operators are crying out.
Recently, small business operators under the aegis of Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises have asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to review its cashless policy to enhance business growth.
The National Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Small-Scale Industrialists, Segun Kuti-George, lamented the effect of the recent cash scarcity and stressed the need for the CBN to carry out a complete review of the cashless policy.
However, the National Vice President of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Solomon Aderoju, said the hardship faced by MSMEs during the recent cash crunch was severe, noting that a complete review was necessary.
On his part, the national president of the Association Of Small Business Owners Of Nigeria, Femi Egbesola, said many businesses had contended with a lot of challenges in their operating environment.
“It’s unfortunate that we have a myriad of challenges bombarding micro and small businesses at the same time.
"I call it a myriad because it is more or less everything happening at the same time.
“In Nigeria today, quite a number of small businesses are still cash-dependent.
"It is the bigger businesses that are already in tandem with online transactions, but for small and micro businesses, it is more cash-based.
Egbesola further stated that the association had conducted a study to ascertain the impact of naira scarcity on small businesses.
He said the result of the study revealed the fact that 19 per cent of small businesses had shut down as a result of the cash crunch, while many others were on the verge of closing up shop.
Also speaking, a member of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Peter Popoola said SMEs were struggling to stay afloat as sales had dropped “drastically.”
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry had argued that the Nigerian economy was primarily cash-based, as over 80 per cent of transactions in volume terms are conducted via physical exchange of the Naira.