The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has attributed the current cash scarcity in the country to widespread large withdrawals made by commercial banks from its branches nationwide, News About Nigeria reports.
This revelation has triggered concerns among Point of Sale (PoS) operators who, faced with empty bank coffers, have resorted to buying cash from traders and petrol station attendants.
The situation has been further compounded by commercial banks imposing withdrawal limits on various ATM points across Nigeria.
Reports indicate that customers are now experiencing reduced access to cash, with some ATMs dispensing limited amounts or running out of cash entirely.
PoS operators, in response to the cash scarcity, have been forced to increase their transaction charges by 100%, raising fees from N100 to N200 for transactions involving N5,000.
This move is seen as a necessary adjustment to offset the challenges they face in obtaining cash from traditional banking channels.
Mike Oyewole, a PoS operator in the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos, told Legit.ng that the situation has become dire.
Long queues at ATMs, reduced functionality, and limited cash availability have prompted operators to explore alternative sources, such as petrol stations and local traders, reminiscent of the challenges faced earlier in the year.
Former Director of Communications at CBN, Isha Abdulmumin, pointed fingers at commercial banks for the current cash scarcity, saying that the apex bank possesses adequate funds to meet the demand.
Despite the CBN’s directive to banks to issue and accept old naira notes alongside redesigned versions, the scarcity has persisted.
The development has raised concerns about the possibility of hoarding, with speculation that Nigerians may be stockpiling cash in anticipation of the previous December deadline imposed by the Supreme Court for the circulation of old N200, N500, and N1000 notes.
However, a subsequent ruling clarified that these notes should circulate indefinitely.