How Nigeria’s Cash Pullout And Digital Pay Push Unravelled

By  |  April 4, 2023

A shoddily executed attempt at banknote reform, aimed at recalibrating the vast informal sector and pushing digital pay, did not go down well in Nigeria. The country is looking to recover after nearly two months of chaos sparked by a cash shortage crisis that crippled economic activities.

“Things are slowly getting better but business was really bad,” Gloria Anselem, a middle-aged produce seller at the bubbly Oil Mill Market in Port Harcourt, told WT.

“Many goods spoiled because of no money to buy and it was hard for me to even get goods.” And cashless alternatives, such as bank transfers, proved unreliable, she added.

Anselem’s business, like many others, suffered as Nigeria’s government moved to suck back money into the banking system having lost sight of much of the currency in circulation. Cutting down cash use and advancing digital payments was also part of the plan, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has repeatedly advocated. But the plans soon floundered.

“I consi...

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