Abakaliki residents express concern over scarcity of bank notes in banks
In spite of CBN’s earlier directive to banks to continue to issue both new and old notes simultaneously there is still a shortfall in the supply of the notes.
The residents who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) believed that the shortage of cash could disrupt their financial and social lives. Visits to some various banks and POS outlets by NAN in Abakaliki showed that some bank customers were worried the development was coming close to a festive period.
NAN recalls that Nigeria faced fund scarcity between January and March following the redesigning of the 200, 500 naira and 1000 naira notes. Mr Henry Okpor, a civil servant and bank customer, told NAN that the scarcity of the notes had persisted in the commercial banks for some time with POS outlets now becoming part of it.
He said in spite of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) earlier directive to banks to continue to issue both new and old notes simultaneously there was still a shortfall in the supply of the notes.
“I think the development began because citizens thought banking regulators may ban some old denominations by end of 2023,” Okpor said.
Another civil servant, Mr Jude Ekete, also worried that the development could cause more hardship and disruption to businesses if not checked.
“It is worrisome that even more disturbing that it is coming at this period when people are going through hard times to survive’’, he noted.
He called on Federal Government to address the situation before it got worst. Mrs Judith Eze, a trader, told NAN that it was unfortunate that some banks were rationing the notes at the counter while ATMs of some banks were programmed to dispense limited cash.
“We faced cash scarcity between February and March this 2023 which resulted the collapse of some small businesses.
“Authorities should stop this trend before it gets worse again,” Eze stated.
Mrs Regina Mbam, a bank customer, said if this was part of plans to implement a cashless policy it would not work unless adequate plans were put in place. She said some customers were paid with lower denomination for huge withdrawals.
Mr Benjamin Essong, a POS operator, called on the authorities to take concrete steps to address the situation. Some bank officials who spoke on condition of anonymity alleged that the scarcity was due to hoarding of the bank notes instead of returning them into the economy after earlier cash scarcity addressed.
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