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Banks Ration Cash as Naira Scarcity Persists

Bank customers’ agony over the prevailing cash scarcity increased, yesterday, as more banks resorted to rationing cash withdrawals while Point of Sale Operators, PoS, operators, hiked transaction fees by 100 per cent.


Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN in a move aimed at ameliorating the situation, suspended charges for cash withdrawals above the regulatory limits of N500,000 for individuals and N3 million for corporate account holders. The CBN said that the suspension of the charges would last till April 30th next year.

Suspension of charges for large cash withdrawals

Announcing the suspension in a circular to banks entitled, ‘Re-Processing Fees on Cash Deposit’, the acting Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Dr. Adetona Adedeji, said: “Please recall the processing charges imposed on cash deposits above N500,000 for individuals and N3,000,000 for corporates as contained in the “Guide to Charges by Banks, Other Financial Institutions and NonBank Financial institutions’ issued on December 20, 2019, under reference FPR/DIR/GEN/CIR/07/042.

“The CBN hereby suspends the charging of processing fees of two percent and three percent previously charged on all cash deposits above these thresholds with immediate effect. This suspension shall remain in effect until April 30, 2024.

“Consequently, all financial institutions regulated by the CBN should accept all cash deposits from the public without any charges going forward.”

Banks ration cash withdrawal

Vanguard’s visits to bank branches in Lagos and Abuja showed more customers experienced difficulty accessing cash as the ATMs in most of the bank branches did not dispense cash while the banks imposed limits on cash withdrawal in a bid to ration the available cash.

Vanguard’s findings indicated that there has been a short supply of cash to the banks from the apex bank, prompting the banks to reduce the amount disbursed both via the Automated Teller machines, ATMs, and Over-the-Counter.

Like the beginning of the year, when Nigerians faced biting cash scarcity, banks now prioritise customers holding accounts with them, while rationing available cash to make it get to as many customers as possible.

While some still maintain the N100,000 daily withdrawal limit in tranches of N20,000 through ATMs, others have since reduced the amount dispensed through the ATMs.

Also, POS agents who spoke to Vanguard confirmed the unavailability of cash at the banks, saying that they hardly get the amount they requested from the banks in the last one month.

When our correspondent visited a new generation bank located on Old Ojo Road, off Badagry Expressway, Lagos, she was told that she could withdraw a maximum of N50,000 in the banking hall.

At the same branch of the new generation bank, our correspondent discovered that only two out of the four ATMs were in use. While customers of the bank are allowed to withdraw up to N40,000 from the ATM in batches of N10,000, non-customers could make withdrawals for up to N20,000 but in batches of N5,000.

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Segun Akinlabi

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