Banks limit withdrawal from ATM as naira scarcity worsens

Residents of Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa and Adamawa and in other parts of the country are expressing concerns over their inability to withdraw huge cash in their banks’ ATM galleries, raising fears of scarcity as experienced during the naira swap.

The development has also affected business transactions in local markets, especially in the northern part of Nigeria where buyers and sellers prefer to deal in cash instead of bank transfers.

Some traders in the South West and northern part of Nigeria have continued to lament over inability to withdraw huge money from the ATM galleries at their localities.

It was learnt that merchants who trooped to markets from the towns to buy commodities are becoming stranded as middlemen scramble to get cash for them.

POS operators also confirmed shortage of cash.

“… I am not an economist but I have a strong feeling the federal government had mopped up cash from circulation,” an operator said.

“It was tough getting cash to transact businesses” another said.

Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria had explained that the seeming cash scarcity in some locations is due largely to high volume withdrawals from the CBN branches by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and panic withdrawals by customers from the Automated Teller Machines, ATMs).

The CBN, through its Director, Corporate Communications, Isa Abdulmumin, added, “While we note the concerns of Nigerians on the availability of cash for financial transactions, we wish to assure the public that there is sufficient stock of currency notes for economic activities in the country. The branches of the CBN across the country are also working to ensure the seamless circulation of cash in their respective states of operation.”

The CBN had announced in March that in compliance with the order of the Supreme Court, banknotes remained legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes until December 31.

Last week, the apex bank reassured that both old and new notes remained legal tender and urged Nigerians to continue transacting using them.

“For the avoidance of doubt, while reiterating that there are sufficient banknotes across the country for all normal economic activity, we wish to state unambiguously that every banknote issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) remains legal tender and should not be rejected by anyone, as stipulated in Section 20(5) of the CBN Act, 2007,” Abdulmumin had said in the statement.

He had added that branches of the CBN across the country had been directed to continue to issue different denominations of old and redesigned banknotes in adequate quantities to deposit money banks for onward circulation to bank customers.