The nationwide cash shortage persists as bank customers encounter difficulties in making substantial withdrawals from various commercial banks, according to Daily Trust. This situation persists despite a recent Supreme Court judgment declaring the coexistence of old and new naira notes as legal tender until further notice,Daily Trust reports.
The court’s decision provided relief to some Nigerians who had been returning old naira notes to banks, uncertain about the fate of both old and new currency. However, reports from Lagos, Kano, Abuja, Kwara, and other states indicate a severe cash shortage.
Banks are restricting over-the-counter cash withdrawals, and some automated teller machines (ATMs) limit withdrawals to as low as N5,000. Many residents in Lagos shared their frustrations, with one individual stating, “I have been to many banks this morning; they said they don’t have cash, and all the ATMs around are not dispensing.”
Customers also lamented increased charges by point-of-sale (PoS) operators in Lagos. In Ilorin, Kwara State, banks were observed limiting payments to N10,000, regardless of the withdrawal amount sought by customers. Similar reports emerged from Kano, though some areas experienced improved cash supply after the Supreme Court verdict.
Despite the scarcity, a source in the banking sector emphasized that banks are constrained by the available cash in their vaults. Another source suggested that the scarcity is artificial, driven by a reluctance to make deposits and panic withdrawals. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reassured the public that banks have sufficient cash to meet customer needs, urging people to embrace alternative payment methods.
Notably, recent data from the CBN showed an increase in the currency in circulation (CIC) to N2.99 trillion as of October 2023, indicating an 8.33% rise from the previous month. The CBN urged Nigerians not to panic, emphasizing the health and soundness of the banking sector, with daily monitoring of banks’ liquidity status.