By now you've either heard about the Naira shortage or are just finding out right now. either way, sit back & learn what's happening in the "Giant of Africa"
Before we jump into it, we know that there is a Naira shortage, but what even is a currency shortage? A currency shortage is when there is a limited and insufficient supply of currency in the country's economy; this leads to wide-spread panic as many now are without sufficient funds to sustain their lifestyles. Now that we know what the Naira shortage is, what's happening?
In October of 2022, the Nigerian government announced new Naira banknotes to be added to the central bank, later announcing that the old notes that many were used for decades would be useless by the end of January. This came as an attempt to curb money laundering and hoarding, two major economic issues in Nigeria. Soon after, the Nigerian government urged the citizens to deposit their cash Naira savings into banks and embrace digital payments- a new way of currency that has been widely adopted in countries across the Atlantic Ocean for years. Nigeria did this in order to limit the amount of Naira in the form of cash Nigerians carry and indirectly push the country into a more digital economy. But with cash being the most prominent form of economic transaction for decades, the government didn't seem to anticipate the widespread panic and Naira shortage that would soon ensue. As thousands of people set out on a mission to withdraw Naira from their bank accounts and receive the new Naira notes, this has led to widespread anger, frustration, and riots as a banknotes shortage due to scarcity of the new bills and banks' refusal of the old Naira bills leads to millions being struggling to maintain the lives that they knew for years. A Naira shortage is now underway.
So.. what now?
Well for many Nigerian citizens, it feels like time is frozen. Anxiety continues to be through the roof as many go to sleep at night uneasy, fearing the day where just buying food might present a challenge. Businesses are having to shut down due to the massive decrease in demand as the money supply continues to plummet. It also can sadly increase the poverty rate that is already at a record-high and is starting to grow as many struggle to pay for anything. For now, it is a period of anxious waiting and prayers, as the elections pose a beam of hope for a new candidacy and government. Until then, one can only hope for positive change amidst this insane Naira shortage.
Below are some helpful resources to better educate yourself on the Naira shortage in Nigeria