Niger is bearing the brunt of economic sanctions imposed after military coup. Photo: Reuters

Niger has failed to pay 12 billion CFA francs ($19 million) in principal on treasury bonds due on Friday, the West African debt agency Umoa-Titres said in statement.

The agency noted in a statement the payments were missed in the context of sanctions imposed by West Africa's economic and monetary union UEMOA following a military takeover late last month.

The junta led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani has not commented publicly on the failure to pay the debt.

The West African regional body ECOWAS imposed the economic sanctions to try to reverse the coup that toppled the government of Mohamed Bazoum.

Businesses hit

The sanctions have affected the movement of goods and services as well as financial transactions.

People are now unable to send or receive money through banks in Niger putting a situation that negatively affects businesses, the president of country's traders' association, Elhaji Sani Shekarau told TRT Afrika.

He said banks were not allowing people to transfer of money or withdraw in bulk. ''Now both small and large scale businesses are in a difficult situation because a businessman can't send or receive money because of the measure taken by the banks,'' he said.

However, the head of Niger's bankers union known as SYNBANK, Malam Abdoul'aziz Mahamadou said banks were not facing cash scarcity, they were only abiding by the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS.

Limiting cash

“The measure is taken to limit the amount of cash withdrawal, so that, people cannot withdraw huge sums with the intention of hoarding them at home,'' Mahamdou told TRT Afrika.

“This measure will ensure that whoever goes to a bank, will be able to have some amount of cash to withdraw,'' he said.

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS hoping the sanctions as well as threat of deploying troops to Niger will reverse the coup led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani.

He was the head of Niger's Presidential Guard but turned against President Bazoum declaring himself the country's leader following the coup.

TRT Afrika and agencies