By Francis Akinnodi
Although, banks continued cash disbursement yesterday, Nigerians are still feeling the cash scarcity as it is yet to circulate across the country.
Checks by The Hope revealed that the apex bank is targeting releasing about N500 billion old notes into the economy in addition to about N500 billion new notes, thereby making available about N1 trillion cash in the economy, in a bid to allow Nigerians carry out their business transactions with ease.
However, credible banking industry sources believe the present cash scarcity is normal, despite the banks resuming massive cash disbursement since weekend, with the situation expected to ease off by weekend if banks continue cash disbursement at the current rate.
The Hope’s checks across Ondo State showed that Point of Sale (PoS) merchants are still charging exorbitant rates on withdrawal while most of them do not have cash to disburse.
For instance, two PoS operators approached by our correspondent in Okitipupa and Ore areas of the state still requested N2,000 extra charge on N10,000 and N800 on N2000 withdrawal, stating that they still buy Naira at expensive rates from transporters and filling stations, among others.
One of them, Mr. Tunde Ajayi, however, promised to go to the bank today to try and get cash to pay his customers.
Meanwhile, normalcy is gradually returning to banking halls as commercial banks in the country continued to dispense cash to their customers at both the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and within the banking halls.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had, last week; evacuated cash from its vaults to disburse to commercial banks which in turn instructed to open to customers all through the weekend to enable them make cash withdrawals.
Most banks monitored by The Hope at the weekend did not open their banking halls to customers, but all had their ATMs dispensing cash, with customers withdrawing as much as N40,000. Many of the ATMs were, however, dispensing a maximum of N20,000 per individual.
By yesterday morning, queues at the ATMs as well as at the banking halls had substantially reduced although in some areas, queues were still quite long.