The long queues that have returned to most banking halls and at ATM pots, across Nigeria, have been blamed on the CBN failure to meet cash request (Cash Calls) by commercial banks, with only 45 per cent delivery of request since December 15, 2016.
Banks officials said no reason was given them for this, but complained of the negative impact on the apex bank not meeting their request for cash at a holiday season like Christmas.
Hear the frustration of a branch manager of one of the banks in Ikeja: “The situation keeps worsening as the yuletide holiday draws nearer, such that we have to wait for customers to deposit cash before we can honour cheques of N100,000 and above across the counter.
“You can’t imagine how frustrating it is for us to find excuse to give our customers, whose money is in our vault. How can you possibly tell them that we have insufficient funds to back their withdrawal, which the system usually prepares itself for at holiday seasons, like Christmas?
Though the same reason is largely responsible for most ATM machines not dispensing cash, a slightly difference issue is adding up to that in the sense that at times, the network is down.”
He confirmed that an average request of each bank in a month with the introduction of cashless banking is now less than N500 million, but in the past one month, the CBN has only authorized N200 million cash.
An aide to CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who confirmed that a report of shortage of cash in the system has been received from the affected institutions, added that the cashless policy of government is still in vogue.
According to him: “With the promotion of the online banking services, incidence of robbery on the high ways and homes have reduced considerably and there is that need to sustain such gains.”
To him, some of the queues in the banking hall could have been caused by some other factors instead of blame on CBN.
But many customers have complained of their frustrations in getting money to enjoy their holiday, as more than 70 per cent of the ATM in most banks, especially, in the rural areas, is not dispensing cash.
By Emma Eke
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