Nigerians have expressed their frustration after being unable to withdraw their deposits for transactions as commercial banks slashed their withdrawal limits ahead of Christmas and New Year.
In an investigation carried out by LEADERSHIP, it was revealed that many customers could not withdraw the amount they needed over the counter due to a lack of adequate cash on the part of the banks.
Customers of some banks which were visited in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Friday, disclosed that bank officials have adopted the system of reducing their withdrawals based on the amount they intended to withdraw.
According to the customers, the bank officials asked them to use alternative channels to carry out their outstanding transactions.
It was also observed that many banks were operating without adequate cash to meet their numerous customers’ needs.
In some banks in Akure, customers only have access to cash ranging from N5,000 to the maximum of N20,000 respectively.
Also, there were long queues of customers at the Automated Teller Machines points(ATMs) in some banks in the state capital.
The development, it was learnt, affected several operators of Point-of-sale businesses who could not withdraw enough cash from the banks and the ATMs to run their businesses properly.
Some of the customers observed that the problem had started since last week.
A customer, Mrs Toyin Alade, said” I came to Access Bank and First Bank branches in Alagbaka to collect N200,000 but I could not do so.”
Access Bank officials said they could only give me N100,000. The first bank officers also claimed they could give me only N100,000. The two banks claimed there wasn’t enough cash and subsequently advised me to use alternative channels to do my remaining transactions. ”
One of the bank officials in Akure who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the shortage of cash, saying it was due to the cash supply from the CBN.
“According to him, “What we have resorted to doing is to encourage our customers to use alternative channels and give them the little we have on the ground. Currently, we are at the end of the year. The demand is huge and we have to balance it. The CBN hasn’t been giving us enough cash in recent times especially since the surge in demand started some weeks ago.
An operator, who identified herself as Oliwatoyin, said the dearth of cash from the banks affected her business.
“For the past few days now, I could not attend to a customer who wanted to withdraw over N25,000 at once. This was because I couldn’t receive much cash from my banks. I was forced to be rationing the little cash I had with me. “
Meanwhile, the CBN had earlier directed all bank branches to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, old and re-designed.
The Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Ali Hakama, conveyed the directive in a statement on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.
This follows the order of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, granting the prayer of the minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation to extend the use of old Naira banknotes ad infinitum.
In the judgment, the court maintained that the old and new notes should remain as legal tender beyond December 31 until the Federal Government puts a process in place for their replacement or redesign after due consultation with relevant stakeholders.
The statement partly read, “For the avoidance of doubt, the Supreme Court ordered that the old versions of N200, 500, and N1,000 banknotes shall continue to be legal tender, alongside the re-designed versions
“Accordingly, in line with Section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, all banknotes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria, will continue to remain legal tender, indefinitely.”
The statement further enjoined members of the public, “To accept all Naira banknotes (old or re- designed) for their day-to-day transactions and handle these banknotes with the utmost care, to safeguard and protect the lifecycle of the banknotes.
“Furthermore, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, in order to reduce pressure on the use of physical cash.”