• Business - Economy
  • Updated: December 06, 2023

Despite CBN assurance, Lagos witnesses yet another cash crunch

Despite CBN assurance,  Lagos witnesses yet another cash cru

Despite the assurance by the Central Bank of Nigeria that there are enough currency notes in circulation, Lagos State is currently faced with an acute shortage of cash.

A visit to some banks in Lagos by Allnews.ng correspondent showed that customers have been limited to N10,000 over-the-counter withdrawals.

Our reporter also observed that some ATM galleries were not even dispensing cash at all, while some were out of service. 

Speaking with a customer service representative at the GTBank, Ikeja Branch, she stated that the reason customers are limited to N10,000 over-the-counter withdrawal is because there isn't enough cash, so the little available is just being rationed among customers to N10,000 per customer.

The representative who pleaded anonymous as she was not authorized to speak to us said: "We don't have enough cash here in our branch, because the Central Bank is yet to bring cash for us, so the little we have is just being rationed to N10,000 per customer."

Allnews.ng also reached out to Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the National Coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), who spoke on the issue.

Onwubiko who said the Central Bank is to be blamed for the cash scarcity said cash crunch under any government was an abuse of citizens' rights. 

He said, "The Central Bank of Nigeria is solely responsible for the circulation of the national currencies of Nigeria, and if there are limitations, the blame lies squarely with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

"There is no logical explanation for the scarcity of cash at this moment because the Supreme Court of Nigeria has just ruled that the old currency that Godwin Emefiele’s Erstwhile management of CBN wanted to change, can be used alongside the newly minted currencies and that there is no time limitation for now.

"If there is cash limitation, Nigerians need to wage unrelenting campaigns publicly and on social media to inundate the CBN new governor, Mr. Cardoso with the requisite public pressure for his management to be up and doing.

Onwubiko added "On the part of civil rights organisations, they should also team up with the masses to drum up the agitations for efficient and effective circulation of the Naira notes.

"The duty lies squarely with the CBN to supervise the deposit or commercial banks to ensure that bank depositors are not subjected to cruel treatment because unnecessarily limiting customers to less cash than they require is a violation of their constitutionally protected rights.

"This is even magnified by the failings that we see and experience with electronic transfers. Most networks of these commercial banks encounter some difficulties, thereby making transactions by their customers very burdensome tasks."

Recall that the nation witnessed a severe cash crunch early this year under the now-incarcerated former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele. 

The CBN had set a deadline for the expiration of the old Naira notes for February 10, this year. This resulted in a serious cash crisis as Nigerians who had their money in banks were unable to access and use it for other transactions. 

This led to attacks on some banks in many cities across the country. In most parts of the country, bank customers were seen in banking halls protesting.

In one of the banks, the staff had to scale the fence to be able to escape from the angry customers waiting to take on them.

Point of Sales, POS, charges went up to N1000 charges for N5000 withdrawal. The cash scarcity left Nigerians to witness hunger and other hardships.

Transportation became a major issue as most organizations ordered their staff to work from home. The government consequently extended the lifespan of the old Naira notes to December 31, 2023.

But on November 29, almost a month to the expiration of the old notes, the Supreme Court ruled that both the new and old notes can continue to be used as legal tender until further notice.

The CBN consequently 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.

In a statement to the effect, the bank, however, urged Nigerians to also consider alternative transactions in order to reduce pressure on physical cash.

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