By Tola Adenubi
Investigations have revealed that some markets in the West African sub-region have started rejecting transactions in Naira following the free fall of the currency against the Dollars in the international market.
When the Nigerian Tribune visited Topa market in Cotonou and Benin market in Seme, both in Benin Republic, it was discovered that many of the traders no longer agree to transactions in Naira, as they insist that the would-be-buyer change it by himself or herself into the local currency, CFA Francs, before buying goods and services from the markets. According to a trader, Margaret Ake, “we started rejecting the Naira when we observed that we were losing money due to the free fall of the currency. Take for instance, the Naira is currently changing at 1850 CFA Francs for N1000.
“If I engage in trade on that basis with a customer, I might be at risk of losing money at the end of the day because the Naira could just drop again in the exchange market, thereby meaning all the transactions I made the day before based on that particular exchange rate, i suffer for it. “We have noticed that the Naira is volatile in the exchange market. It keeps changing, so to be on the safer side, we all had to agree to start rejecting the Naira for every trade transaction here in Topa market.” When our Correspondent went round Benin market located along the Seme border in-between Nigeria and Benin Republic, it was observed that the exchange rate for the Naira keeps changing as trading draws to a close.
While the Naira exchanged for 1600 CFA Franc to a thousand Naira in some places across the Seme border and Topa market around mid day of Wednesday, by 3pm of the same day, it was already exchanging for 1850 or 1800 CFA Franc to a thousand Naira in the same markets. Another trader, a Nigerian this time, Alhaja Safinatu stated that due to the volatility in the Naira exchange rate, many of the traders have started shunning the Naira as a means of trade transaction in the last two months. “Prior to this Forex issue, a thousand Naira exchanged for about 2800 CFA Franc. But since the Naira became unstable, the exchange rate has been swinging in-between 1600 CFA Franc or 1850 CFA Franc to a thousand Naira. “So I don’t blame the traders because the volatility does not give them security to trade in Naira since nobody wants to lose. We just hope everything gets back to normal again,” she stated.