Nigeria is currently experiencing a widespread shortage of naira notes, affecting several states and leading to severe cash access constraints. This situation persists despite previous assurances from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that there was an adequate supply of currency in circulation. Isa AbdulMumin, a representative from the CBN, has reiterated that all denominations of the naira remain legal tender, amid public uncertainty over the validity of older notes following a controversial redesign policy by CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele.
The policy, which aimed to curtail excess money supply and was initially proposed between October 2022 and March 2023, encountered legal pushback that culminated in the Supreme Court extending the validity of old notes until December 2023. However, this extension has not alleviated the current scarcity.
Financial institutions across Nigeria have implemented stringent measures in response to the cash crunch. Union Bank has capped ATM withdrawals at ₦5,000 for non-customers and ₦20,000 for customers. In contrast, customers at Access Bank have faced ATMs devoid of cash. GTBank has set a withdrawal limit of ₦20,000 due to reported shortages.
In Abuja, network issues have compounded the problem by impeding bank transactions. In Kano, banks have outrightly denied withdrawals as ATMs remain inactive. Kwara banks have adopted a universal daily withdrawal limit of ₦20,000, with Zenith Bank being an exception by permitting up to ₦500,000.
The scarcity has also impacted Point of Sale (PoS) operators in regions like Gombe and Edo, where service disruptions have forced an increase in transaction fees. The ongoing currency crisis has prompted calls from various groups such as the Bank Customers Association and mobile money agents for improvements in alternative payment methods as legal debates over currency policies continue.
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