By Chris Njoku
Residents of Cross River have decried the low cash in circulation in the state, noting that it had made the Yuletide which should be a season of relaxation and joy a difficult one.
Some of the residents who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN on Sunday in Calabar said there was nothing to celebrate in the Christmas of 2023 other than life.
It would be recalled that earlier in 2023, there was a massive reduction of cash in circulation after the redesign of some naira notes.
There were long queues in banks and people bought the naira notes for as high as N3,000 to N4,000 for every N10,000 from Point of Sale, POS operators; the challenge has, however, resurfaced in December 2023.
Mrs Agnes Odey, a Federal Civil Servant said that civil servants in the nation have not been paid for December to enable them to properly celebrate Christmas, to make matters worse, the cash crunch resurfaced.
She said now you can’t get your money in the bank even after passing through the gruelling experience of the long queues at the commercial banks, you cannot get more than N20,000 at the bank counter.
“So many other things have made life a little frustrating this Christmas, from the increase in pump price of fuel which has affected the price of everything in the market, there is also poor power supply.
“I am staying indoors with my family, I don’t have the resources to go anywhere, as you can see, we have not been paid and even if the salary comes in today, the high rate of inflation will deplete it,” she said.
Similarly, a trader, Mr Joseph Okechukwu said he never spends his Christmas in Calabar because he travels to the east but won’t be doing so this Christmas due to the high cost of transportation.
“As of today, travelling to Owerri is about N13,000 for a seat when a few years ago travelling from Calabar to Owerri was less than N5,000.
“How do you expect me with four children and a wife to travel with this kind of transportation cost, we are staying in Calabar to manage the little we have,” he said.
Miss Faith Okon, a POS attendant who spoke to NAN said getting cash for her business has become as difficult as it was earlier in the year.
She said they now struggle to get very little cash, adding that they had to increase the cost of their services.