Nigerians, who are eager to transact with the new Naira notes, may have to wait for a while as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may have stopped the supply of the new N200, N500 and N1,000 notes to the Money Deposit Banks (DMBs).
Banks visited, and others contacted by The Nation said they were not given new notes yesterday from the CBN. “The kind of money we've been receiving is not from the Mint at all. I don't know what has happened to the new notes,” a bank staff said.
The banks also lamented that the old notes issued to them were not adequate to meet customers' demands. Some of the banking halls had very little customers withdrawing cash over the counter.
In one of the banks, customers who came early were “lucky” to get N10,000, but by the afternoon, the banks could only give out N5,000 cash to customers over the counter.
A staff member of the banks said unlike in the past, “regardless of the size and location of a bank branch, the CBN only allocates what it feels like to the banks.” This limited cash supply from the CBN, the bank staff member said, is what is responsible for the cash shortage in the system.
Managing Director/CEO SD&D Capital Management Limited, Mr. Gbolade Idakolo, expressed worry that “the scarcity of new Naira notes might reach an unbearable level thus leading to confusion,” saying he is optimistic that the “government might likely take action now that the elections are over because “their silence has caused increased hardship and has affected commerce.”
The lingering cash scarcity is still being felt, over a week after the CBN asked banks to accept and pay old N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations. Although there is gradual increase in the volume of cash in circulation, the demand for cash by customers have so far outweighed the cash supply.
Banks have also continued to await cash disbursement from the CBN to enable them meet the cash needs of customers.
The cash crunch followed two key policies -The cash limit and naira redesign policies – being implemented by the CBN under its currency reforms programme. ”
In many of the banks' branches in Victoria Island Lagos, Matori, and Machine, Lagos, some banks attended to customers but ran out of cash around noon.
Some of the banks' branches were rationing cash payment, limiting it to N5,000 and N10,000 daily.
The long queues on few of the ATMs dispensing cash, meant customers have to stay for long hours before they can get cash.
“I waited for three hours from 8.am to 11 am before I was paid N5,000. I will be back tomorrow because the N5,000 cannot meet my immediate financial needs,” one customer said.
In Ibeju-lekki Lagos, bank customers besieged banks in a bid to collect cash were disappointed as majority of the banks were not paying cash.
Checks showed that only a few banks were paying every customer between N5,000 and N10,000
Many bank customers are unable to make cash withdrawals across the counter, and also through ATMs.
“I have checked in over five banks' ATMs and none was dispensing cash. I expected the cash crunch to ease after the elections, but that is not happening, ” one bank customer said.