First day into the extended 10 days granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN) for old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes to be shifted for new ones, the cash squeeze continued across the country, yesterday, as millions of Nigerians struggled to complete deals for goods and services.
The failure of cash, both old and new notes, is farther compounded by service time-out consumers are suffering on Internet banking, Automated Teller Machines( ATMs) and Point of Sales( PoS) terminals.
These challenges, especially access to cash over the counter, ATMs and PoS, yesterday, further took a downcast trend as banks failed to give out cash to customers. This is even at various ATM terminals visited weren’t apportioning cash, while those apportioning minimally had huge crowd to contend with.
It’s the same story of wrathfulness and pain at the PoS outlets as operators lament incapability to get cash. howbeit, PoS merchandisers with cash charged between N1,500 and N2000 for N10,000 withdrawals, as against usual going rate of N200, which was later hiked to 10 per cent in the wake of the cash squeeze.
Others even slashed the amount customers intended to withdraw. For example, within Ajao Estate, a core city of Lagos, PoS merchandisers were only suitable to give out N5,000 most to customers, who wanted N10,000 or further and would still charge as important as N800 to N,1,000 for the withdrawal.
They complained painfully of their inability to get cash from banks and ATMs, adding that the CBN naira exchange policy has impacted them negatively.
But the banks have taken the blame to the doorstep of the apex bank. Yesterday, in one of the new generation banks at Airport Road, Lagos, a senior bank manager said their bank only got N30 million new notes for about 200 branches spread across the country.
The bank chief lamented that if nothing is done urgently to heal the situation, “ it will be hard to contain the wrathfulness of consumers any time soon. At this branch now, no over the counter withdrawal and the little cash inside the ATMs have been exhausted. ”
Still talking, the bank manager said online platforms of the bank have been overstretched, affecting in series of failed transactions.
Indeed, Nigerians have continued to express wrathfulness through all platforms, including the social media with the hashtag #NoFuel, #NoCash trending on Twitter yesterday.
The inability of Nigerians to access cash have forced numerous to go online, which was actually the target of the apex bank. still, unknown rise in volumes of online transactions in the last many days has put serious pressure on the network.
It was gathered that because of the pressure, one of the leading banks, was reported to have disabled its online app on Tuesday, which redounded in the incapability of hundreds of thousands of its customers to carry out transactions in the last two days.
A senior bank manager, who spoke anonymously, admitted that there are challenges within the banking sector, stressing that the CBN policy has further compounded the issue.
To be candid, the new notes are yet to circulate and as people bring in their old notes, they want to walk away with new notes, which are presently shy. We had to sum it. For example, if you bring in N50,000 and you want to go with new notes of N50,000, we can only give you N20,000.
This also means that if you come to change N5,000 old notes to new one, we may give N2,000 and ask you to come back. We know it’s a challenge, but that’s how we can manage the situation for now. ”
Speaking on his experience, David Adeoye, a PoS merchandiser at Oyingbo Market, Lagos, said with the new policy and network disruptions, he didn’t think he could still continue with the business.
When PoS started, a lot of banks used it to support us; I’ve four PoS machines from four banks, but I had to leave three because I don’t get instant alerts on transactions done.
For example, if I’ve 10 customers buy from me and make payment with PoS, their money won’t come on that day until the coming day. When it finally comes, it’ll be delicate for me to know who paid what because it’ll all come in bulk.
On his part, Uche Chukwudi, another operator, said several times, money had been erroneously deducted from her account through PoS. “When you go to your bank to lodge complaints, the bank will tell you there’s an intermediary that’s looking into it. occasionally, it takes weeks to get back your money, ”she said.
IN Abuja, the situation is little by little crippling marketable activities in the Federal Capital Territory( FCT).
At the Federal Secretariat where numerous ministries are located, utmost ATMs aren’t functioning, while two that were paying yesterday were bombarded by workers.
The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria( ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, said service downtime generally results from damage to telecoms infrastructure, stressing that this happens in both urban and rural areas.
Adebayo said something decisive should be done to cover infrastructure, adding “We shall continue to have some pockets of disruptions. We understand the period we’re in and I’m sure that operators are working to guarantee advanced service.
But we appeal to the public to help us too in guarding these infrastructures that are spread across the country, that we count on to expand and upgrade services. ”
Meanwhile, presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party( PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has advised CBN against farther extension of the February 10 deadline. The former Vice President, in a statement he tête-à-tête signed, advised that some forces opposed to the conduct of free and fair election were ganging up against CBN.
The CBN should be cautious of the elite whose motive for crying out further about deferment of the deadline for the term of the old naira notes is minatory and far from being humanitarian. I’m completely in support of building a cashless economy and reducing the quantum of cash in our economy, ” Atiku stated.
In his view, “the anti-democratic essentials who are pretending to be democrats are the ones ganging up against CBN because of the currency redesigning and the cashless governance it seeks to enthrone. They’ve been colluding and lobbying day and night to frustrate the policy. Now, their new measure is to lobby for a alternate deferment of the deadline for the change of currency. I exhort CBN and government to ignore their antics. The CBN shouldn’t succumb to the current pressure. “
There should be no farther deferment of the new naira governance after the expiration of the February 10 deadline. The vote riggers are seeking to push the CBN to extend till after the election when they would have achieved their evil plots. CBN and the Presidency should be loyal. The virtues of the new naira policy far overweigh the little inconvenience we’re sustaining, ”he noted.
The Chief Executive Officer of Dairy Hills Limited, Kelvin Emmanuel, condemned the scarcity of naira notes, explaining that it could be as damaging as Moody’s downgrading of the Nigerian economy to Caa1 from B3 status.
The recent downgrade to Caa1 from B3 by Moody’s following the watch the Nigerian autonomous standing was placed on in October 2022, is evidence that we’re in a full-blown conjuncture.
He cautioned that the downgrade would push bond yield spreads above 20 per cent and make it unsustainable for the government to raise intermittent debt expenditure through government bonds, leaving them to Ways and Means facility and bilateral/ multinational sources.
According to him, Nigeria’s Sovereign Rating is officially ranked ‘rubbish’.