The poor mobile network service at the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex which houses three markets in Lagos, on Saturday stalled commerce, as traders complained of inability to transfer cash online.
The traders, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the close of business, said that the problem was frustrating and unbearable.
They said that many customers who bought goods with the hope of transferring cash online to pay for the items, waited for the debit alerts till the end of the day without success as purchased and packed goods were returned.
NAN reported that the introduction of the new redesigned N1,000, N200 and N500 notes and their slow-pace release in the system by commercial banks, as directed by the Federal Government, has been causing hardship to the people.
The government said the cash shortage was to revamp the economy.
Mr Andrew Umeh, an article and confectionary distributor, said that the cashless policy that they have adopted was not helping matters because of the poor network.
Umeh, who doubles as the Chairman of Line Heads, appealed to the authorities to come to their aid by improving the mobile network.
“Since the government is finding it difficult to release cash to the system for reasons best known to them, they should please allow us to trade with better network service to encourage online cash transfers,” he said.
Mr Chijioke Duru, a business machine seller, said that trading has become herculean, as people who buy items as low ad N1,500 opted for online cash transfers.
Duru said he lost a transaction worth N700,000 because of a lack of cash and a poor mobile network to enable the customer to make a transfer.
According to him, if the trend continues by next week, a huge protest would be imminent.
“We are tired of this frustration. Government should provide us with an alternative, soft-landing by ensuring that the network is improved.
“Many of us rented these places with big amounts of money with workers and levies to cater for. It is from the sales that we see money to foot these bills,” he said.
He noted that the market was virtually empty without customers because of the shortage of cash. Elsewhere at a relaxation spot in Tedi, Ojo, Lagos, the same scenario was noticed, as a fight ensued because of the poor network as customers who purchased drinks and other items were unable to transfer cash online.
The customers were not allowed to leave until the sellers got alerts that did not come.
It took the intervention of security operatives to settle the matter with a signed agreement for the customers to pay the following day if the expected payment alerts did not come.