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In Bauchi’s Misau Market, Traders Sell at Loss, Credit Amid Scarcity of Naira Notes

Scarcity of new and old naira notes forced some traders at the weekly Misau market in Bauchi State to sell their goods at cheaper rates while others sold theirs on credits.

The market which holds on Fridays usually hosts hundreds of traders and their customers who transact in grains and livestock. But last Friday was not as usual, WikkiTimes’ reporter observed.

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Malam Musa Mai Wake, a grain dealer said it was the second time the market would experience such declining patronage since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a change in high denomination Nigerian currencies — N200, N500 and N1,000.

SELLING AT LOSS

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“Every week I used to visit this market, but today is the worst outing for the market,” Musa told WikkiTimes. “Some of us that came last two weeks hoped it will be better in the next market day. But to our greatest surprise, the market is being deserted.”

“Look at the grain section of the market that used to have not less than a thousand bags of assorted grains; now we only have 20 to 30 bags of only millet and guinea corn,” he continued. “These people are not willing to sell their products unless you give them money hand to hand as they don’t accept bank transfers.”

Scanty Misau Market

Musa explained that traders are incurring debt as prices of goods are falling drastically. This, he said, was a result of the urge for cash.

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“The prices have fallen,” he said. “A bag of millet is now N16,000 against N20,000 of the actual price we bought before the naira change problem. We are selling at loss and this is a serious setback for us. Imagine the huge loss we are counting and we don’t know what will happen in a few days as the market price keeps on dropping every day.”

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He said some traders sold their goods credits while others took theirs home amid a scarcity of both the new and old naira notes.

“I sold two bags of millet on credit pending on when the person has cash at hand, I don’t accept bank transfers because I don’t know where to get the cash to buy the product from the local people,” he stated. “This policy has ruined our business, we are appealing to the government to look at ways of making these naira notes available because the local people whom we buy the products from are not banked.”

The situation is the same at the livestock section of the market where traders were seen stranded, waiting for customers with cash and not minding whether it is new or old notes.

Sulaiman Tela, a leading livestock trader told WikkiTimes he was surprised at first when he saw few people at the market.

“At first I thought that it is the weather that makes people not to arrived at the market, but I later realised that the market will go on like that because only a few livestock were brought in and the traders will categorically tell you they are not accepting transfers except cash. These people are selling their animals at lower prices because they don’t have another alternative.”

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He added: “For some of us that will buy in large quantities for onward journey to southern parts of the country, we know that this change is not favourable to us. Yes look at the number of animals here, they can’t be enough for one person, what the others will do? We have hired a trailer that would carry our animals and now we have to go back empty. Actually, we are not happy with the development and it is really affecting us financially.”

An official of Misau Traders’ Union who pleaded anonymity said the problem has been compounded by banks for not making the cash available.

“The ATM machines are fill-up with people. You have to wake up by 3:00 am to book a line at the ATM and sometimes you may not get it,” he said. “Even if you are lucky the maximum you will have is N20,000 per day. Even the POS centres are not having the cash too.”

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