Nigerians lament as naira scarcity returns, banks limit withdrawals, POS operators hike charges

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  • Old naira notes remain legal tender indefinitely – CBN

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR

Nigerians have lamented the reoccurrence of naira scarcity across the country.

Findings by The Point revealed that banks have limited cash withdrawals, while Point of Sales operators have been hiking charges for customers making withdrawals.

Residents of Osun, Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Adamawa, Oyo States and other parts of the country expressed concerns over their inability to withdraw huge cash in their banks, raising fears of scarcity as experienced during the naira swap era.

This has also affected business transactions in local markets, especially in the northern part of Nigeria where buyers and sellers prefer to deal in cash instead of bank transfers.

Some POS operators and other Nigerians complained that banks have limited daily withdrawals to a maximum of N20, 000 per day.

To this end, most POS owners have been changing higher for cash withdrawals.

A POS operator, Muideen Adewale said, “We face so much stress before gathering cash for business now. We are practically returning to the ugly days of naira scarcity. Banks have pegged daily withdrawal to N20, 000 and if this persists, we will continue to collect higher charges.

“Before now, I charged N100 for N5, 000 withdrawals but since last week, I have been charging between N150 and N200. This is because I can’t withdraw enough money from the banks and it has been competitive collecting money from other sources.”

A resident of Osun State simply identified as Mercy, expressed displeasure for paying higher charges for POS transactions saying, “This country has started frustrating us again. The POS people have started milking us again. Imagine paying N200 to withdraw N5, 000.”

“Both at the bank counter and at the ATM, the maximum one can withdraw now is N20, 000. I don’t know if we should call this a second phase of scarcity because I think we have overcome the pains and agony we went through during Emefiele’s naira redesign era. Government should do something before we approach Christmas and New Year celebrations,” she pleaded.

Old naira notes remain legal tender indefinitely – CBN

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria has extended the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1, 000 notes indefinitely.

The apex bank’s Director, Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin in a statement titled, “CBN To Allow Old Design Naira Banknotes As Legal Tender, Ad Infinitum” on Tuesday, said the decision was line with international best practices and to forestall a repeat of earlier experiences implementing the policy.

The CBN introduced the redesigned N200, N500 and N1.000 denominations in October 2022 and certain deadlines were set for the old design of these denominations to cease as legal tenders.

The statement read, “Without prejudice, the Central Bank of Nigeria wishes to inform the general public of its desire to extend the legal tender status deadline of the old design of N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations; ad infinitum.

“This is in line with international best practices and to forestall a repeat of earlier experiences.

“Thus, all banknotes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria, in accordance with Section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, will continue to remain legal tender, ad infinitum, even beyond the initial December 31, 2023, deadline.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria is working with the relevant authorities to vacate the subsisting court ruling on the same subject.

“Accordingly, all CBN branches across the country will continue to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, old and redesigned, to and from deposit money banks.

“The general public is enjoined to continue to accept all Naira banknotes (old or redesigned) for day-to-day transactions and handle these banknotes with utmost care, to safeguard and protect the lifecycle of the banknotes.

“Also, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, for day-to-day transactions.”