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Cash scarcity: Nigerian banks struggle to pay customers



Nigerian banks are struggling to pay customers who want to withdraw their money due to a cash shortage in the banking system.

Some banks in Lagos, especially those in Surulere, Mushin, Kirikiri, Mazamaza and Ejigbo, among other areas, were seen rationing naira cash to customers.

“I have been to three banks in Onipan uarea, I could not withdraw up to N200,000. One of the banks said it would pay me N50,000; another bank promised to pay N100,000. We are approaching the Christmas season, and some members of our association need cash,” one customer told BusinessDay under anonymity”.

Kelechi Godwin, a customer of Access Bank, said,

“I just came out from my bank at the Trade Fair, you can withdraw any amount you want.”

There was no cash at the Automated Teller Machines of Access Bank at Kirikiri.

“No cash; the ATMs are not paying, ” the security staff said”.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the seeming cash scarcity in some locations was due largely to high volume withdrawals from the CBN branches by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and panic withdrawals by customers from the ATMs.

“While we note the concerns of Nigerians on the availability of cash for financial transactions, we wish to assure the public that there is sufficient stock of currency notes for economic activities in the country,” the CBN said in a statement on November 2, 2023.

A statement signed by Isa AbdulMumin, former CBN’s director of corporate communications, said the branches of the CBN across the country were also working to ensure the seamless circulation of cash in their respective states of operation.

The statement added:

“Public members are, therefore, advised to guard against panic withdrawals as sufficient stock facilitates economic activities. Nigerians are also advised to embrace alternative modes of payment, which would reduce pressure on using physical cash.”

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