37% of Nigerian businesses cut jobs, reduced working hours due to cash scarcity – Report

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A new report by SB Morgen Intelligence has said about 36.96 percent of Nigerian businesses had to lay off staff or reduce working hours to adjust to the cash shortage caused by the naira redesign policy.

In its report titled, ‘Strapped: Impact of The Cash Scarcity on Individuals And Businesses’, the research organisation examined individuals and businesses across five of the country’s six geopolitical zones excluding the north-east, to see if there was any lasting damage from the naira redesign policy.

The organisation said the data in the report is only up-to-date as of April 6, 2023.

SBM Intelligence said its findings showed that transportation and feeding became more difficult due to the cash squeeze, as transportation workers had to use point of sale machines to ease payment for their passengers.

The research organisation said ranging from egg producers stuck with their produce to rice traders who had to bring down their prices to make sales, most of the business owners interviewed were negatively affected by the cash shortage.

SBM Intelligence said the percentage of those who said their enterprise was significantly impacted totalled 76.09 percent, 17.39 percent said their businesses were somewhat affected while 6.52 percent said their ventures were not affected at all.

“Out of the 46 businesses interviewed, 36.96% had to lay off staff or reduce working hours to weather the cash shortage. About 41.30% did not have to make such adjustments.

“However, when you remove those who said those issues did not apply to them, nearly half had to make staff cuts or reduce work hours. About 47.22% had to make staff or work-time changes, while 52.78% were resilient enough to stand the cash shortage without reducing staff strength or opening periods,” the report reads.

SBM Intelligence said the Central Bank of Nigeria should have pushed for a reduction in transaction failures and beefed up financial infrastructural integrity whilst taking the lead in engaging with regulators and private sector stakeholders to ramp up broadband penetration rather than force-feed Nigerians with a policy.

Speaking on the apex bank’s cashless policy, the firm advised that its targets should be paired with internet penetration and incentives should be private sector-led rather than forced through regulatory mandates.

“When transactions can be seamlessly done in rural and peri-urban areas, and mobile money operators can conveniently access enough cash to meet demand, rural residents will more readily take up digital channels.

“Whether the consuming public continues to grow and maintain their bank deposits at levels seen pre-scarcity will represent the ultimate indication of how much institutional credibility the CBN retains,” the report further reads.

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