•As long queues, network glitches persist in banks

By Chinwendu Obienyi

The scarcity of the new Naira notes on Monday continued to disrupt business activities in markets, restaurants, banks and major sales outlets across Nigeria.

Upon visiting the banks, Daily Sun observed long queues in the banks’ ATMs on resumption of activities while mobile bank apps continued to suffer network glitches.

Further investigations revealed that bank cashiers continued to pay N5,000 to customers despite the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s directive of N20,000 over the counter. 

In the midst of the operational challenges being faced by small businesses especially in rural areas, a recent survey showed that Point of Sale (PoS) transaction charges jumped by almost 400 per cent.

Ismail Kudus, a tricycle operator, expressed sadness at the development while stating that urgent steps need to be taken by the government to see if the deadline can be extended.

“I have been standing close to the ATM for 4 hours. I came out to see if I can have some money to repair my tricycle because to be honest, the mechanic will not agree for transfer of funds because even mobile bank apps have been malfunctioning.

I just think the FG should look at extending the deadline, if they can’t, then they should make these notes available and accessible to Nigerians”, Kudus said.

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Daily Sun also observed that despite the CBN’s warning to sanction PoS operators or mobile money agents, N2,000 was still being collected for the withdrawal of N10,000 while N700 was charged to withdraw N5,000.

It will be recalled that the CBN had appealed to Nigerians to exercise patience. 

Emefiele stated that the CBN is mindful of the challenges some Nigerians have either faced or is facing and is addressing them.

“Unfortunately we do see that there will be some transient or temporary pains, but we are appealing to Nigerians and we are begging. We are on our knees begging people to please show understanding. 

Do not destroy bank properties because bank properties are meant to serve you. At this time that we are facing this temporary and transient situation, we crave everybody’s understanding. Please be calm”, he pleaded.

Also, President Muhammadu Buhari during a meeting with the Progressive Governors’ Forum also urged citizens to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch that has stifled productive engagements across the country.

Reacting to this development, the World Bank Country Office in Abuja, noted that the hardship being faced by Nigerians due to fuel scarcity and the scarcity of notes could escalate tension ahead of the general elections.

The bank further said that with the deadline approaching this week, the phasing out of the old Naira notes will cause a cash crunch which could be economically and socially damaging to vulnerable people in Nigeria. “The shortage of cash compounds fuel shortages which have been ongoing for months.

There is a clear risk that cash shortages cause hardship and frustration which could escalate social tensions, especially in a febrile political environment ahead of elections on February 25 (presidential and parliamentary) and March 11 (gubernatorial)”, the bank said.