Some states in the country have been affected by issues of fresh cash scarcity with residents groaning and lamenting over its effects.
Many residents in the states already hit by the fresh cash crunch expressed frustrations in accessing cash as several Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) no longer dispense money and banks have also started rationing cash withdrawals over the counter.
Long queues were observed in the few ATMs that have cash with residents struggling to withdraw.
Naija News observed that some of the states where issues of cash scarcity have been reported are Ondo, Edo, Kwara, Delta, Lagos, Plateau, Jigawa, Kaduna and Osun among others.
This development has negatively affected day-to-day activities and businesses.
Our correspondent reports that in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, banks rationed cash to customers in the banking hall while the ATMs were programmed to dispense limited cash thus causing long queues of customers/residents in the few ATMs that have cash in the metropolis.
The amounts customers are able to withdraw differ based on the bank or branch visited.
This development has forced some POS operators to temporarily close shops while a few others that have cash have increased their withdrawal charges and are also rationing cash as they monitor developments.
Other reports have it that in some of the banks within the Jos metropolis, only a few ATMs dispensed cash. The others were deactivated because they were not loaded with cash.
In Dutse, Jigawa State, customers making bulk withdrawals from their banks had harrowing tales as commercial banks in the state cut the amount of cash paid to their customers to a maximum of N20,000.
Residents of Warri, Effurun and environs in Delta State, also expressed concerns over the stress they went through to access cash with residents of Akure, the Ondo State capital lamenting as well.
But according to The Nation, banks in Anambra, Ogun, Katsina, Bayelsa, Niger, Akwa-Ibom and Benue states attended to customers without conditions as they were unaffected by the growing concerns of fresh cash scarcity.
An official of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) however said the cash scarcity being experienced in some states is a result of the uneven cash flow dynamics and the uncertainty over old naira notes.
The official said many individuals and organizations are also making large withdrawals due to the incoming holidays.
He added in the chat with The Nation that those rushing to have access to cash were still unaware of the latest Supreme Court verdict that the old and new notes remain legal tender indefinitely.
While calling on Nigerians to embrace digital options for payment, the CBN official assured that the apex bank was working with commercial banks to ensure adequate cash circulation and Nigerians have no need to panic or worry.
Supreme Court Verdict
Naija News recalls the Supreme Court had in a fresh decision on Wednesday, 29th November 2023, ruled that old and new naira notes will co-exist as legal tender until further notice.
Recall that the apex court in March 2023 extended the deadline to phase out old naira notes to December 31, 2023.
The federal government on the 21st of November, 2023, filed an application before the Supreme Court seeking an extension for old naira notes to remain in circulation.
The apex court, in a ruling by a seven-man panel led by Justice Inyang Okoro, said the banknotes should remain in circulation, pending when the Federal Government, after due consultation with relevant stakeholders, decides on the matter.
Throwback: Emefiele And Cash Scarcity
It would be recalled that in the build-up to the 2023 general elections, Nigerians had experienced acute cash scarcity when the then Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele replaced the old naira notes with new notes in a controversial naira redesign and cashless policy.
Nigerians who had rushed to meet the deadline to deposit their old naira notes were unable to access the new notes, leading to a cash crunch across the country which affected my business and economic activities.