The Boko Haram menace in North East Nigeria has grounded economic activities in the region. Included among the activities are banking services. As a result, residents are usually stranded in when in comes to obtaining the needed cash.
However, a Daily Trust investigative report has revealed how traders have ingeniously converted POS machines into mini banks.
Necessity Is The Mother of Invention
For a town boasting the largest cattle market in West Africa, the cash demands are usually high but with the closure of banks in the area due to the insurgency, liquid cash becomes a problem.
But in the Nigerian spirit, some enterprising traders have come up with financial solutions to solve the niggling problem. Using Point of Sale machines, these people provide liquid cash to clients while they transfer monies from the client’s account to theirs through the POS for a fee.
“I started the business out of desperation to help people overcome cash shortage in the town. It wasn’t profitable at first, but with my little accountancy background, I later converted it to a more profitable venture. Now, I have five staff and we all depend on this job” Ali Abba Ya`u, 28, told Daily Trust.
Another POS operator at Unguwar Danbaba Mai-fata, Mr. Mohammed MB, said he started with a very little profit from the business, but that providing cash on demand by his customers, and getting the idle youth employed had been very fulfilling to him.
For the clients, the services provided are a relief with the fee charged an easy sacrifice considering what they have to go through if they want to use the commercial banks or the nearest ATM.
“When these banks closed down, I had to travel to Azare or Misau to withdraw money from ATM. But, you can see how these boys are making cash available to us now. We no longer take the risk of travelling far distance and their charges are reasonable. They charge three percent of the cash given to us and that is nothing compared to the amount we spent as transport to neighboring states. The least we spent on transportation then was between N1,500 and N2,000.” Alhaji Suleiman Gimba.
With these businesses cropping up, the concerns relating to security and privacy are starting to niggle certain customers. come to think of it, some criminals can take advantage of this to outsmart the ATM owners, because they are the ones handling the transaction. They have access to customer’s PIN and last four digits of their cards. And on the other hand, armed robbers can attack these people and rob them at gunpoint. So, proper security must be in place to avert these possibilities,” Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed said.