Forex Traders Count Losses As Cash Crunch Worsens

Nigeria’s cash shortage is forcing black market forex traders to lose a fortune daily on the account of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cash redesign policy.

Some Abuja and Lagos-based Bureau de Change traders said they are losing transactions worth thousands of dollars to traders who want payment in cash.

Nigeria is witnessing a huge cash crunch as N2.1trn has been withdrawn from circulation with only N300bn new notes printed.


The old N1,000 and N500 became outlawed notes on February 10, 2023, when the CBN said they can no longer be accepted for transactions in Africa’s biggest economy.

Although there is an interim injunction by Nigeria’s Supreme Court to allow the old notes to circulate pending the determination of the case, President Muhammadu Buhari has insisted that the old N1,000 and N500 notes are no longer valid for transactions.

But Buhari extended the validity of the old N200 notes by 60 days ending April 10, 2023, while he ordered the apex bank to recirculate the old N200 notes.

The cash crunch which has spurred protests in big cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, and Benin among others has frustrated both businesses and households.

Bureau de Change dealers are also caught on the web as traders are looking for cash to buy dollars from customers.

The dollar sells at N775, while traders buy at N765 based on the market price on Sunday, February 19.

Usman who trades in Zone 4, a popular forex hub for black market traders in Abuja told THE WHISTLER that they are losing funds to the naira crunch.

“The problem we are facing is not even the dollar. We don’t have naira cash to give to our customers. Now if customers come we tell them there is no cash and we give them the option of transfers. Those ones who want cash we end up losing them,” Usman said.

In Lagos, a BDC trader Muhammed lamented hardship as a result of the scarcity of the naira notes.

Muhammed told THE WHISTLER, “I have stopped buying dollars with cash. Any customer that insists on cash will have to look for another BDC trader. I don’t even have it. I’m losing a lot and this is not funny at all.

“I’m not having many problems sourcing the dollar but my biggest concern is how to source the naira notes to give to my customers. Truly it is not sweet because I’m losing a lot of money daily whenever customers leave my office without patronising me, because I don’t have the cash to give them.”


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