By Chuks Eke
Traders in Anambra state, under the aegis of Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, ASMATA have decried the level of agony they are passing through since January, this when the federal government introduced the naira redesign policy and cashless economy.
They lamented that the exercise has almost grinded their businesses to a halt as they now find it very difficult to buy goods and supply to their customers, owing to the scarcity of cash and instability in banking services and its attendant lack of network.
Patron of ASMATA, Chief Jude Nwankwo who made the lamentations in his office at the Building Materials International Market, Ogidi, Anambra state, said no minding that the policy has not achieved any desired target, traders were the worst hit as they could hardly access the cash to buy their goods adding that in most cases, banks would debit their account without crediting the account beneficiaries and vice versa.
According to Chief Nwankwo who is also the President of the Building Materials market, “the naira redesign policy was just an ill wind that blows nobody good as Nigerians were subjected to unprecedented hardship in the name of naira redesign policy, cashless economy and vote buying prevention”.
“We are not yet matured for cashless economy. Many people don’t even know how to operate the handset and other machines that will help them to transact their businesses”.
“Queues are much in the banks even till date and there is network problem which frustrates the transfers of money and banks also dispense very meagre amount, some N5,000 or N10,000 to each customer after waiting in the long queue for a day. Many sick Nigerians died in various hospitals for lack of adequate Medicare arising from acute scarcity of cash”.
” I think things are getting better now because they said the banks are now paying more than they were paying before but the queues still persist and the network problem is still there,” he lamented.
On the alleged illegal revenue collectors operating in Anambra state, Nwankwo described the situation as worrisome, adding that it was in a bid to avoid these touts in the building materials market that the traders deposited as much as N30 million to the State Government, as Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, to prevent touts from coming into the market to cause confusion and disaffection in the name of collecting IGR from the traders for state government.
He noted that they considered the payment of the N30 million IGR in advance into the state government ciffers as an imperative following the criminal activities of most touts who in the guise of IGR collectors, would commit one crime or another.
“We paid the N30 million for us to be collecting the loading and off loading of vehicles IGR on behalf of the State Government because we considered these touts as armed robbers and right from when I assumed office as the President of the market, I never wanted them. They are the same people that rob at gun-point, kidnap people and commit all manners of atrocities”.
“These are people sacked from the roads by the State Government and allowing them to come into the market to collect revenue on behalf of the State Government will be risky. Government has even suspended the collection of levies on vehicles for loading and off loading in the markets at the moment and as such our money is hanging”.
“We want the Government to refund us since the levy collection on vehicles in the market has been suspended for now,” he stated.
He commended Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo’ for his relentless efforts in fighting crimes and criminality in the State pointing out that he has been able to checkmate crime to the barest minimum.
“Since the Governor came in, crime has reduced drastically. We need peace in Anambra and I think the Governor has asked those jobless youths to come up and learn a trade. If the youths are kept busy there will not be crimes unless from those who are born criminals,” he stated
Also on the launch of Clean Green Sustainable Anambra that was flagged off by Governor Soludo’, at Ochanja market recently, he said it was a welcome development as it would make the State to be clean.
“Desilting of the gutters is a welcome development and roads are being rehabilitated in the State by the Governor. I condemn throwing of waste into the gutters and offenders if caught will face the wrath of the law,” the PG affirmed.