•As queues gradually ease off in banks

By Chinwendu Obienyi 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will continue to reassess the volume of currency in circulation (CIC) to avoid the repeat of what happened before its naira redesign programme kicked off.

This was even as cash scarcity continued to ease off as banks in Lagos continued from where it left off at the weekend by dispensing cash to its customers.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while fielding questions from newsmen during the 290th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting which held in Abuja recently, the CBN remains committed to ensuring a stable financial system.

He said, “Before the Naira redesign, there was about N3.23 trillion in circulation, out of which N500 billion was held in the banking system and N2.73 trillion held outside the banking vaults. The currency in circulation (CIC) is roughly close to N1 trillion and the CBN will continue to pump the newly redesigned notes into the economy. 

Although, we need to checkmate the optimal level of CIC in relation to the amount of cash the banks have in their vaults so that we ensure we put in place measures that we do not have people or banks hoarding notes for their personal use”.

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Meanwhile, cash strapped Nigerians who visited the banks on Monday heaved a sigh of relief as banks continued to dispense cash to customers over the counter and via their various Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

Daily investigations revealed that there was relative high compliance by banks with many branches open to customers yesterday albeit with manageable queues. Even though in-banking withdrawals were seamless, bank tellers could only give N10,000 and N20,000 in some cases as against the CBN’s position that customers could withdraw as much as N500,000 over the counter.

A bank staff at one of the generation banks located at Ajah, said, “Yes, we have been paying money to customers since 9am as to when we opened our bank. You can see that the queues are gradual and that is because we are quickly attending to the customers. On Sunday, we had dozens of them here and even though we could not handle them all, we tried our best and resolved to continue today (Monday) which is why you are seeing less queues. We are rationing the cash because we do not want excessive cash calls. We also do not want to experience not having cash, so this is the reason why we will rather keep the withdrawal low for now pending when the cash situation improves”.

Divine Chinenye, a businesswoman, said, “I was able to withdraw cash today as opposed to Saturday when I could not. I actually wanted more but the N20,000 is quite ok for me. I heard that their ATM could dispense more tomorrow but the fact I got today, I am sure of getting tomorrow when I come early. So far, it is only the old notes I got”.

Another top banker in Orile axis who spoke to Daily Sun, said, “We have had to deal with so many people wanting cash and so we have to ration it because I do not think we can pay as high as N100,000 to a particular person. We are only paying N20,000 so that the cash can go round”.

Further investigations revealed that PoS charges per transaction dropped from N3000 for N10,000 to N1,500.

Reacting to the development, a source at CBN, said the cash situation will improve gradually and added that by the end of the week, normalcy will be restored into the banking system.