By Sade Adewale, Kayode Olabanji, Samuel Edu,
Jimoh Ahmed, Adetoun Aderoboye & Kayode Afolabi
Cash rationing still persists in commercial banks during the weekend as many customers in Ondo State got pitiable amount despite waiting for hours to withdraw money.
Investigation by our correspondent showed that though the tension over the Naira crisis has subsided, the banks still indulged in cash rationing of old naira notes.
In some banks, customers got N20,000 each while others gave as miserly as N5,000 to their customers forcing some to queue twice to meet pressing financial obligations.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Godwin Emefiele had earlier directed all banks to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as well as conduct physical operations in the banking halls through the weekends.
The Hope investigation across the state revealed that the usual long queues at the Automated Teller Machines, ATMs, have reduced as some customers got the amount they needed.
Economic activities have received boost as customers paid cash as against the struggle for e-payment in the past months.
Business owners particularly small scale industrialists expressed satisfaction with this new development expressing optimism that better days are ahead for their businesses.
Narrating her experience on the hardship imposed by the naira scarcity, the President, Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists, Ondo State chapter; Mr Great Seyi said it was the most difficult period in the history of Nigeria.
“Most businesses have closed down. We just hope that things get better over the next few days according to CBN.”
In Ondo town, residents withdrew naira notes in most of the banks thus aiding the circulation of the notes.
When our reporter visited banks in the community on Sunday, most of the banks opened with residents withdrawing naira notes from the banks. Only one of the banks visited was under lock and key.
Most withdrawals made by customers were done through the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) as withdrawal over the counter remained inadequate.
Residents who spoke with our reporter described the move by the CBN as a welcome development that will help eradicate the problems caused by the scarcity of naira notes in no time if maintained and properly monitored.
A personnel at one of the banks said “we open and people are making withdrawals from our ATM.”
A Taxi driver, Mr. Olawale Akinola said “I have gone across the town today and saw that most of the banks are opened. I am happy that they followed what the CBN said. With what I am seeing here at this bank, I think the scarcity will be over soon. The queue is not long like before and people are withdrawing money easily.”
Another resident, Mrs. Aduloju said “for some days, I have noticed that more of my customers were bringing naira notes when they come to buy some things. The number of those doing transfer have also reduced. With the banks opening during weekends, more cash will be available.”
Another resident, Mrs. Omowumi Olugbenga said “before now, when we go to the bank to withdraw money, the suffering was just too much. We have to go very early to pick tallies and then wait till it is our turn. Most times, the bankers will tell us that we cannot withdraw more than N5,000. Now, the long queues are reducing and we are allowed to withdraw more money. I believe that with what we are seeing now, everything will be normal soon.
Report from Ore headquarters of Odigbo Local Government said customers trooped out en-masse to buy goods from traders in the market our reporter visited.
Some traders who spoke with our correspondent said the recent directives of the apex bank has led to increase in their sales.
A petty trader, Mrs Damilola Ajayi gave kudos to the apex bank for directing commercial banks to open for business on weekends, regarding the directives as a relief to humanity.
A bank customer from in Owo, Mrs Akintade Taiwo, confirmed to our correspondent that she was able to withdraw N35,000.00 from her account on Sunday as opposed to when she was only given N2000 last week.