May 29, 2024

Currency outside banks reverses upward trend, falls by N27bn


•As cash in circulation maintains upward trend, rising to N3.92trn  

•PoS agents lament limited cash withdrawal from banks

By Elizabeth Adegbesan

Currency Outside Banks, CoB, fell month-on-month (MoM) by N27.5 billion or 0.55 percent to N3.6 trillion in April from N3.627 trillion in March 2024.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Money and Credit data for March released yesterday also showed that this was the first decline in CoB this year as it has been on the rise since January 2024 after it fell by 4.37 percent to N3.28 trillion from N3.43 trillion in December 2023.

However, currency-in-circulation (CIC) increased MoM by 1.5 percent to N3.92 trillion in April from N3.86 trillion in March.

The decline in CoB may be indicative of controversy around availability of cash in the banks with bank customers’ lamenting of limited cash withdrawals in banks and Automated Teller Machines, ATMs.

Some Point of Sale, PoS, operators have also complained of their inability to access cash in banks and have resorted to other sources or do away with the little they have and close for the day.

Speaking to Vanguard, Mrs. Omobola Beauty, a PoS agent, said: “It is difficult to get cash from the bank now. I don’t really know what is happening. Before I can withdraw N100,000 to N200,000 over the counter from my bank.

“Since yesterday, I was told I can only withdraw N50,000. The situation is so terrible that some banks will tell you it is N20,000 they can give over the counter even if you are an agent.

“I have to manage the little cash I have which is not up to N50,000 to do business. Even the traders who usually deposit money are not bringing it. I have been doing transfers with an ATM card since morning today. No one has brought cash for transfer.”

Mr. Jerry Iduzogie, another agent said: “This cash scarcity in banks started last week. My bank that gives out up to N300,000 to the agent told me I could only withdraw N20,000 from across the counter or ATM.

“I was dumbfounded, but I just had to collect it . It was my wife that assisted me to source for cash from her friends who are traders.

“That’s why I am still in business this week.”

Miss Rebbeca Daniels, an agent said: “ A friend of mine at the bank who confided in me said there is no cash as many Nigerians no longer take their cash to the bank.

“If you go to any shop today, they have a PoS terminal where they are doing transfers and withdrawals. So, most of the cash people use in buying goods from them still goes back to the public and not the bank.

“When I got to the bank today, I was given N10,000 over the counter. It is those mallams trading here that supply me cash. That is how I am surviving in this business.”

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