The cash crunch in Nigeria is getting to an unbearable stage as bank customers now queue from morning to night at their various banks and the Automated Teller Machines, ATMs, without seeing cash to withdraw.
Today in Nigeria, especially in the country’s commercial nerve center, Lagos, on the counter withdrawal of cash inside the banking hall is out of it. Most ATMs too have not been dispensing. The only places Lagosians have been withdrawing cash have been the POS centres. But even now, POS is no longer reliable as most of the agents have been complaining of not getting enough from the banks.
“The point is that we can’t even gain access into the banking hall. Most of the banks have remained under lock, they only accept few people at a time into their banking halls.
“I managed to enter within the week and achieved nothing. The bank workers said they had no money”, said Ebuka a popular POS agent in Maza-Maza area of Amuwo Odofin, LGA, Lagos.
Ebuka is not alone. In fact most POS agents in the area have been shaking in their business due to lack of regular cash from the banks. Some of them have resorted to applying for church offerings just to remain in business.
“I just got married and opened POS business for my wife. But it has been challenging due to lack of cash. For her to remain in business, I beg the people in charge of my church’s offering money to give me part of the money while I transfer the equivalent of it through mobile transfer. But that has not helped much since there are many people queueing for the church offerings. Besides, with the situation in the country, our church has stopped accepting the old #200,#500 and #1000 notes . So, the physical cash from offering is not much any longer”, laments the parishioner of an Orthodox church.
Lagosians have been facing cash crunch following the currency redesigning policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the problem is far from being over.
Some bank customers in Maza-Maza, Tuesday appealed to the CBN to direct commercial banks to prioritize their customers in the deployment of cash.
They made the appeal following the continued inability of banks and Automated Teller Machines ,ATMs, to dispense cash ,while POS operators remained the dominant channels of accessing cash, even though the agents are complaining of not receiving enough.
According the respondents ,the POS operators have been exploiting them by charging exorbitant commissions for their services. They also said that they did not have trust in the POS operators as some of them could have criminal tendencies.
One of the concerned bank customers wondered why some POS operators could have so much money at their disposal while the banks continued giving excuse that they had no money. He said, ” Can you imagine that I withdrew up to #300,000.00 at once from a POS agent and he had more cash to pay? Where are they getting money if not from the banks? The banks have not been paying. They said they have no money, yet they give to POS operators because those guys pay them more. Why are the banks selling cash to POS agents? They are the reason for this scarcity. The CBN has given them enough cash ,but they prefer to hoard and sell the cash to business people and politicians”, he lamented.
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This respondents alleged that the over five banks within Maza-Maza had shut their gates against customers, only allowing people to come in trickles for minor services.
Buzzministry gathered that all the banks in the area had crowds of people waiting at their gates and most of the people came to resolve issues associated with failed transactions via online and mobile banking.
None of the banks nor their ATMS were dispensing cash within the period that our man visited.
The security guard of one of the banks bluntly told their customers that they had no cash to pay , but could help them resolve their failed transactions.
“We are not paying. We have no money to pay. That is the situation in the country”.
Our investigation revealed that only a few of the POS operators had cash to pay.
Some of them charged as much as #1000 for #5000 withdrawal. Before #5000 withdrawal from POS attracted only #100 commission.