The scarcity of Naira is intensifying nationwide, with banks imposing restrictions on cash withdrawals, according to findings by Daily Trust.
Concerns are rising among residents in various states, including Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, and Adamawa, as they face challenges withdrawing significant amounts of cash from banks. This has sparked fears of a shortage similar to the one experienced during the Naira swap.
The situation is impacting local business transactions, particularly in northern Nigeria, where cash transactions are preferred over bank transfers. Daily Trust previously reported on November 1 that Borno and Kano states were experiencing cash scarcity ahead of the December 31 deadline for the use of old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) attributed the apparent cash scarcity to high-volume withdrawals by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) from CBN branches and panic withdrawals from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). The CBN assured the public of an adequate stock of currency notes and directed its branches to ensure smooth cash circulation.
However, recent checks across the country reveal persistent Naira scarcity, affecting various sectors. In Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Adamawa, Kaduna, and Taraba, farmers struggle to sell their goods, with buyers unable to access sufficient cash. Point of Sale (PoS) operators in these markets also confirm a shortage of cash.
In Nguru, Yobe State, grain merchants offer rewards of up to N50,000 for anyone facilitating N1,000,000 in cash transactions due to the challenges in obtaining physical currency.
In Lagos, many banks’ ATMs are reported to have run out of cash, leading people to rely on PoS agents who, in turn, face difficulties withdrawing sufficient funds from banks. Similar challenges are observed in Abuja, where Bureau de Change operators note limitations on cash withdrawals by banks.
The scarcity is affecting various aspects of daily life, from business transactions to travel, prompting concerns about the reasons behind the shortage and its potential impact on the economy.