March 28, 2023

Cash rationing persists amidst improved supply to banks

scarcity of currency

By Babajide Komolafe & Elizabeth Adegbesan

Banks yesterday continued to ration cash withdrawal even as supply from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, improved by over 1000 per cent last weekend.

Vanguard findings show that most banks’ branches in major cities received cash supply ranging from   N10 million to N15 million last weekend from their head office. This represents an increase of about 1000 per cent when compared to the average of N1 million per week received by most branches two weeks ago. 

Vanguard also found out that most banks are no longer enforcing the CBN cash withdrawal limits though they resort to rationing in some branches where cash withdrawal is high.  

A banker who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said: “My branch received N15 million over the weekend. We did not open on the weekend but today we allowed customers to withdraw any amount and the N15 million has been exhausted. But we are expecting cash supply tomorrow.”

However, some bank customers who spoke to Vanguard expressed dissatisfaction with their inability to withdraw as much cash as they desire, stressing that the amount of cash received was inadequate for their immediate cash needs.

A Point of Sales, PoS, operator who lamented the inadequacy of the amount dispensed to her told Vanguard that she was directed to another branch which they said had more cash but she could not go due to the long distance.

According to her, “The CBN should direct the banks to pay PoS agents more to ease cash in cash out transactions.”

Also lamenting, Mrs Uwa Osaponwa, a bank customer, said that the N2,000 dispensed by her bank was not enough for payments she would make that day, hence she needed to borrow.

She added, “All the Point of Sale, PoS, agents in my area have shut down business because of this scarcity of cash. A visit to banks in some parts of Lagos revealed that  some banks paid N10,000 to customers through the ATM, while a few others paid as much as N40,000 over the counter. Stanbic IBTC Bank paid N10,000 through the ATM and N20,000 over the counter. While First Bank paid N10,000 over the counter.