Scarcity of the naira currencies has persisted in the commercial banks in Nigeria.
This despite the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) directives to the banks to continue to issue, accept old and redesigned naira banknotes.
Investigations show that banks are still rationing the naira notes to customers in the banking halls, while Automated Teller Machines were programmed to dispense limited cash.
Recall that the country faced massive cash scarcity between February and March this year which resulted to the crumbling of some small businesses.
According to a Punch report, it was that ATMs at FCMB, Gate, Ejigbo, customers who went to withdraw cash were disappointed as they were not dispensing cash.
When some officials of the bank were asked why there was no cash for withdrawal, they said the bank did not load cash into the machine.
At GTBank, Gate Ejigbo, ATM’s were dispensing maximum of N5,000 to non-bank customers, while customers of the bank could withdraw up to N20,000.
Ecobank at Gate, Ejigbo paid non-bank customers up to N10,000, while bank customers could withraw as high as N20,000.
Operators had linked the cash scarcity which commenced in recent weeks to fear that the banking regulator may ban some old denominations by year end.
However, to alleviate the fear, the acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mrs Sidi Hakama, in a statement, said, “Following 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, the CBN has directed all its branches to continue to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, old and re-designed, to and from Deposit Money Banks.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Supreme Court ordered that the old versions of N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes shall continue to be legal tender, alongside the re-designed versions.”
Some of the spokespersons of the banks who would not want to be quoted said there was no new directive from the CBN to limit the cash transactions to customers.
“The scarcity could be due to some cash hoarded that have not been returned back into the economy,” a bank source said.