Naira scarcity persists as banks limits cash withdrawal 

Nigerians who believed that the cash crunch had ended following the directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) remained disappointed on Thursday as commercial banks continued to ration banknotes.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had on Monday directed commercial banks to dispense and receive old naira notes as legal tender across the country.

The CBN gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting held on Sunday, according to a statement by the acting Director, CBN Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, on Monday.

Most banks in Ikeja and other areas of Lagos still have long queues, and they told customers that nothing had changed as they were still waiting for supply from the CBN.

“We have been paying the cash in our vault before and it is exhausted. We will get more cash from the CBN,” a bank official told a customer at Ikotun.

At Iyana Ipaja, Gbenga Awosoro, a businessman, said he stood for hours at a bank branch waiting to withdraw cash but was disappointed as there was no cash in the bank.

Also, Bunmi Aiyebusi, a trader said the directive by the apex bank had brought relief to the people, adding that scarcity would persist owing to the shortfall in the supply of the old N500 and N1,000 notes.

“My worry now is where CBN would get the old notes to supply banks since they have destroyed the ones in their possession?” he asked.

It was also gathered that for deposits to be made, customers are still required to generate a CBN reference code — a process launched in February for the apex bank’s currency redemption exercise.

At all the bank branches visited, customers were mandated to generate the reference code before they could deposit their old naira notes.