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Naira Scarcity resurfaces in Select States in Nigeria



Naira Scarcity resurfaces in Select States in Nigeria

Widespread reports of scarcity of both old and new naira notes have surfaced across multiple states in Nigeria, despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) formal extension of the validity of the older currency notes.

The CBN had recently reassured the public of an adequate supply of currency in the market, urging against panic withdrawals. Additionally, the apex bank had announced plans to extend the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes indefinitely, seeking to overturn a prevailing court ruling on the matter.

However, reports from various regions including Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Kwara, Gombe, Edo, Sokoto, and Ekiti States confirm a scarcity of both old and new naira notes.

A noticeable scarcity was observed in banking halls and ATM galleries, compelling customers to face limitations in withdrawals. In some instances, ATMs were reported to dispense only N5,000 to non-customers, while certain banks faced constraints in meeting the demand for cash.

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A banker, preferring anonymity, attributed the scarcity to inadequate supply from the CBN, lamenting the hardship it imposed on the populace. Reports from various banks, including Guaranty Trust Bank, Union Bank, and others, indicated limitations on over-the-counter withdrawals, with customers restricted to withdrawals not exceeding N20,000.

Customers in the Federal Capital Territory expressed frustration over network unavailability at various bank branches, impeding their withdrawal transactions. Similar issues were reported in Kano, where some banks were unwilling or unable to fulfill customer withdrawal requests, exacerbating the scarcity.

Across the affected states, there were complaints from customers and Point of Sale (POS) operators alike regarding the shortage of cash. While some banks rationed available funds among customers, others like Zenith Bank reportedly allowed daily withdrawals of up to N500,000.

The scarcity, which commenced approximately three weeks ago, impacted customers of UBA, GTB, First Bank, Union Bank, and other major banks. Customers faced withdrawal restrictions, with limits set at N20,000 for most and exceptions made for select high-profile customers.

Officials at various bank branches cited insufficient cash as the reason for being unable to meet customer withdrawal demands. This situation extended even to Sokoto State, where residents highlighted the ongoing scarcity, particularly noting the difficulty in obtaining cash from ATMs.

Despite the CBN’s efforts to extend the validity of older naira notes, the prevailing scarcity continues to disrupt banking services and limit cash accessibility for Nigerians across multiple regions, prompting concerns among the populace regarding the lingering cash shortage.