Naira Scarcity Hits Parts of Northern Nigeria

Despite affirmation by the Central Bank of Nigeria, boating of enough cash in circulation, naira scarcity has reportedly resurfaced in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kwara, Kano and Sokoto states.

The PUNCH in a recent survey reported that scarcity of naira rocked some parts of Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Kwara, Gombe, Edo, Sokoto, and Ekiti states. It noted that many bank customers and Point of Sales (PoS) operators lamented that it is becoming a challenge to access cash for their economic activities.

In Kano, some commercial banks were not honouring withdrawal requests from customers, and ATM galleries were dry. Further findings showed that the few banks that were paying customers did not give beyond certain amounts.

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“Many banks lack money to give to customers and when you inquire, they will not give you any satisfactory explanation as to why,” a Kano resident, Hayatudeen said.

“Even though most of the POS operators are getting their money from traders and other business operators, they still complain of the scarcity.”

He further alleged that many POS operators have increased their charges by about 50 per cent.

Also, in Kwara, banks are rationing cash to their customers. Some commercial banks are not allowing customers to withdraw more than N20,000 daily from their accounts.

The situation is not different in Sokoto and Gombe states.

Kabiru Nura, a Sokoto-based man said: “Even though the issue is becoming more relaxed the scarcity is still very much with us. The funniest part is at ATMs, you hardly get cash at ATMs these days. The last time this happened was during the naira redesign policy, and this should really be a thing of the past now.”#

Point of Sale operators in Gombe State are worried about the resurging naira scarcity in the state.

Adamu Salisu, a PoS operator in Bagadaza area of Gombe State said: “we cannot get free access to lump sum of cash. I and some of my colleagues now rely on traders in the market who get some cash from transactions to remain in business.”

Another PoS operator, Mohammed Rafi, added, “We are going through so much stress to get money to give customers, but customers are complaining because we have increased our charges as we had previously done during the early part of the year.”

Bank Customers Association Says It’s Not Aware

According to the President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogunbunka, members have reported any such issues with cash withdrawals.

He said, “This news surfaced a few weeks ago, and some of the banks I visited gave out cash to their customers. If there is a limitation at all, then it means something is driving it. But I see no reason because there is no issue regarding whether it’s new notes or old notes; that problem has already been resolved. But if anything is driving this report, I think we need to find out.

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“Maybe they want to encourage online banking and things like that. But I don’t think there is anything like a cash squeeze now. I will try to visit some banks and see for myself. The information I have now doesn’t suggest anything like a cash squeeze.”

The National President of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, Victor Olojo, added that more needs to be done in terms of increasing alternatives to cash.

He told the paper: “The CBN hardly has control of the whole cash issues, and they need to be very clear on if it is the old currency we are using or the new, they are the custodian of our currencies. However, we as a country are on a good trajectory. In terms of raising other channels of payments, more needs to be done.”

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