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It’s a few days to Nigeria’s presidential election and the people of the most populous country in Africa are still finding day-to-day transactions a bit of a problem ever since the use of the new naira currency was introduced.

It appears that the country is tilting towards a complete cashless economy with the previous introduction of eNaira by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the regulated cash withdrawal on daily basis—a maximum of around $40 for individuals but on the high side for business owners.

One would be tempted to ask why are Nigerians finding day-to-day transactions a bit of a problem. A lot of things have come into play at almost the same time causing a serious unrest while preparing for a major election. The major issue is tied to the redesign of naira (₦200, ₦500, and ₦1000 bills only) and shortage of the newly designed currency in circulation.

While Nigerians are trying to adapt to the new system, the poor response of bank payment apps as well as a fluctuating mobile network are not putting a smile on their face.

The people’s speculations 

First, why was naira redesigned?

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, a large amount of naira were hoarded in cash by high profile persons in the country. This led to the redesigning to gain back its control of the currency while providing room for old notes to be deposited. Currently, only the old ₦200 note is allowed as a legal tender until 60 days after February 10th which was the previous deadline following the initial January 31st.

It has been echoed by many that the plan was to prevent vote buying on the day of the presidential election.

But are Nigerians not in a very giant bubble of an unknown political game?

While others think it’s about the general election, a few think it’s a diversion. Some believe it’s a game of another loot and keeping the people financially powerless.

By Elijah Christopher

 

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