About 56.52 per cent of businesses suffered fraud and theft during the cash scarcity caused by the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
This was according to a report by SBM Intelligence, titled ‘Strapped: Impact of the Cash Scarcity on Individuals and Businesses’.
In the report, the 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.
It said the data in the report is only up-to-date as of April 6, 2023.
The report read in part, “It was not only financial institutions that experienced arson and looting during the window of cash scarcity. Roughly 56.52 per cent of businesses interviewed said they experienced fraud or theft due to scarcity. A further 41.30 per cent reported escaping these negative outcomes.”
In February, The PUNCH reported that the growing anger over the cash crisis resulting from the CBN currency redesign policy boiled over as protesting customers torched banks and destroyed Automated Teller Machines in Edo and Delta states.
The violence, which paralysed social and economic activities in the two states, also claimed three lives while many others were injured during the riot.
The protests equally spread to Oyo, Ondo, Benue and Kwara states as residents vented their anger over the scarcity of cash, which had made life unbearable for many Nigerians.
It was reported that banks, schools, shops and companies hurriedly shut down for fear of being attacked.
The SBM Intelligence noted 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 report also disclosed that about 36.96 per cent of Nigerian businesses had to lay off staff or reduce working hours to weather the cash shortage.
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.
It added the percentage of those who said their enterprise was significantly impacted totalled 76.09 per cent, 17.39 per cent said their businesses were somewhat affected while 6.52 per cent said their ventures were not affected at all.