The scarcity of dollars in the country has left traders with no option than to be thronging some commercial cities in the country to buy goods in order to remain in business.
Some of the traders, who are majorly importers of textiles and other materials, resorted to thronging Aba, Onitsha, Lagos, and Kano markets, among others, due to the scarcity of dollar in both commercial banks and the black market.
According to the traders, the scarcity has continued to affect their businesses.
The traders claimed that they decided to buy from the local markets in order to meet the demands of their customers and to “avoid being pushed out of their sources of livelihood.”
The Managing Director, Ziza Cosmetics, Bauchi, Mrs. Christabel Rowland, said the dollar scarcity had almost “ruined” her business before she resorted to buying goods from the Kano market.
She said, “Apart from the scarcity of dollar, the exchange rate is just rising with no sign of it dropping.
“I can’t buy anything abroad presently. If I should buy, my customers may not afford to buy them because the goods will be very expensive.
“Anybody who travels now to buy goods abroad will only waste his money and make losses because it is not advisable to bring imported goods to Nigeria now with the high exchange rate.
“It is better to buy in Kano or Lagos in order to minimise cost. I can’t imagine buying goods abroad at this critical time.”
Also, a bank customer, Alhaji Jimoh Obasa, said his international business had suffered a huge setback because of the scarcity of dollars.
He said since he could no longer discharge his responsibilities with his clients, he decided to temporarily close his operations while hoping that the situation would improve.
A businesswoman, Mrs. Joy Ajayi, who usually buys goods from Dubai, and the United States, said her hitherto booming business had been undergoing serious challenge as she could no longer get enough dollars to import goods.
Ajayi said she decided to buy from Aba, a commercial city in Abia State.
Alhaja Afolasade Olalere has also stopped travelling to the United Kingdom, her favourite destination for the purchase of lace fabrics, as a result of the situation.
According to her, she is not considering travelling abroad to buy goods until there is drastic reduction in the exchange rate and availability of dollar.
“The scarcity and the exchange rate are needless because many businesses are going moribund,” she said, adding that she had decided to buy from the local markets anytime she got orders from her customers.
However, Skyroti news learnt that some traders have been relying on influential Nigerians to access dollars at commercial banks.
An Ekiti State-based businesswoman, Mrs. Victoria Adeolu, told one of our correspondents that she used the influence of a member of the House of Representatives to get dollars.
“Funny thing is that even the lawmaker is complaining that it is not easy for him to get dollars from banks anymore. But when I hit a brick wall, I always call upon the lawmaker to help get the dollars,” she said.
Adeolu added that she was already thinking of patronising the local markets, preferably Kano to buy goods.
Bukola Adetoun, another Lagos-based businesswoman, said she might quit her clothing and gold business if the economy did not improve.
She said, “I feel like crying as I am talking to you. I go to the market with N2m and it is as if it is just N200, 000. If I increase the prices of my goods, who will buy them? Before I travel, I usually tell my customers to place orders on what they want. Now, more than 89 per cent didn’t get back to me. It is very unusual.
“I am taking a big risk in this trip I intend to make. If I come back and I am not able to make any profit, I have to quit.”
A dealer in Senegalese wears, Mr. Ngozi Eze, said business had been slow in the last few months as a result of the economic crisis caused by the high exchange rate and scarcity of dollars.
She said, “Each time I travel to Senegal, I always come back with four sacks of clothes. But the last trip, I could only come back with one and half bags for the same amount of money I have been using to buy clothes.
“Each of my wears costs not less than N25, 000. So, how will I tell my customers to buy same for N50, 000 if not more? At the end, the traders are the ones losing. I wonder what will happen in future.”
Attempts by a Delta State-based textile trader, Mrs. Eunice Ogbodo, to buy $8,000 have hit brick wall.
She said, “The scarcity and the high exchange rate have badly affected my business. I can no longer travel to Dubai for obvious reasons; I cannot afford N370 to a dollar. I have struggled to buy $8,000 with no success.
“I may soon resort to buying goods from local markets to keep myself in business because nobody knows when this ‘madness’ will stop.”
A Lagos-based dealer in motor vehicles and electronics, Mr. Olubukola Adeosun, shared similar experience.
Adeosun said he had not been able to buy some of the products that he wanted to import into Nigeria since January due to the scarcity of dollar.
He said apart from the scarcity, it was not wise to import capital goods into the country now due to the fall in naira value.
Adeosun said, “Things are difficult right now. I have some goods that had already been picked for me in the US since January for import into the country, but I have not been able to pay for them due to dollar scarcity.
“The scarcity has also led to an insensible rise in the dollar value. I am even being cautious right now because if I should get the dollars by all means, it will be too expensive and this will translate to the goods that I want to sell to be too expensive for Nigerians.
“There are still some vehicles that I imported since last year and they have yet to be bought. I want to sell them first before I import the ones that have been picked for me over there.