Kaduna residents have turned to petrol filling stations for salvation in their desperate search for cash to satisfy their pressing needs, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
This development is the sequel to the scarcity of liquid cash in Automated Teller Machines (ATM) of most banks in the metropolis, just as POS operators have closed shop for the same reason.
NAN checks indicated that people in search of cash troop to petrol stations dispensing fuel, hunting for those that are buying petrol with cash, instead of electronic transfer.
An agreement is then reached with those in need of cash, who would settle the fuel price from their account through electronic transfer, and then receive the cash from the fuel buyer in return.
People interviewed in one of the filling stations said the arrangement came as a relief to a lot of people who had been under severe hardship.
“I got wind of this arrangement today and went to a petrol station dispensing fuel, talked to a commercial bus driver, and he accepted to help me.
“We agreed that I should pay N7,000, through the station’s POS, being the cost of his fuel, which I did.
“When it was his turn to be dispensed of the fuel, I presented the N7,000 slip, and collected the cash from him in return; it was a big relief to me as I had no cash on me.
“The major challenge is that it is not everything that can be purchased through electronic transfer of money; there are some needs that can only be satisfied using liquid cash”, said Adamu Saleh, a resident.
He said commercial vehicle operators had been very useful in that regard, just as he praised them for not capitalising on the situation to requesting for something in return.
Another resident, Mrs Aisha Fika, said she had to accost three different people at a petrol station before she secured liquid cash.
“I accosted two people who told me they had already been ‘booked’ by others, but a third person obliged,” she said.
Fika said all efforts to secure cash through ATM or POS proved abortive until she got wind of the petrol station arrangement.
Another resident, Aminu Lawan, said the challenges with this arrangement, are the uncertainty of network service, and the time spent waiting for the turn of your helper to be dispensed fuel.
“Sometimes, the network can disappoint, or the person to help you is far behind in the petrol queue; except you are patient you may end up getting frustrated”, he said.
Others who spoke to NAN said the arrangement was a big relief and had helped in reducing the frustration of many, occasioned by the current cash squeeze in the system.
Meanwhile, some hospitals in Kaduna patronised by ordinary people, are experiencing the death of patients.
Some staff of the hospitals, who were interviewed by NAN, attributed the low turnout to the unavailability of new Naira Notes.
One of the staff at the hospital, who pleaded for anonymity said some patients did not even have the cash to settle their transportation fare to the hospital.
A patient, Mrs Munirat Umar, met in one of the hospitals, said in spite of her coming late, was able to see a doctor due to the low turnout of patients, saying she met empty seats in the waiting hall.
She said that lack of cash, as well as the poor network that hindered the seamless electronic transfer of money, had played a measure role in reducing the number of patients in the hospital.
Another patient, Muhammad Adam, who brought his sister to the hospital, said they were able to see a doctor, but could not pay for medications due to a lack of new Naira Notes.
“We have old naira notes and they have refused to collect the money insisting we pay with the new currency or use the Point of Sale (POS),” he said.
NAN also observed that tricycle operators in the Kaduna metropolis now display boldly on their tricycles, their account details for customers to settle their fair electronically.
Passengers were also warned in advance that old N500 and N1,000 Notes were no longer legal tenders, and would, therefore, not be accepted.