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Cash crunch: Queues disappear at commercial banks, ATM galleries in Abuja

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Improvement in the circulation of cash is beginning to materialize as residents in Abuja, the federal capital, express relief as the usual months of long queues of people gradually fade away at Automated Teller Machine (ATM) galleries and banks.

This followed the Central Bank of Nigeria’s intensification of efforts in evacuating cash from its vaults across the states to the deposit money banks last week.

A check by correspondents of Persecondnews in the FCT reveals that the two-month of Naira scarcity and untold hardship experienced by residents had eased off.

Bank customers are now able to access cash with ease across the FCT as at Monday.

Our correspondent who visited one of the Tier 1 bank in the Jahi area of Abuja, reports that there was less queues at ATM points and few crowd in the banking hall unlike what obtained weeks back.

A bank customer, Cynthia Gimba, said she withdrew her money at the ATM in less than five minutes like a dream.

“I didn’t believe that I would get my money this easily, even though I heard that money is now in circulation; I said let me try because I needed N10,000 it was like a dream and the money came out.”

Mr Abubakar, who also spoke to Persecondnews said: “I came here even with the fasting and I thank God that it wasn’t stressful and it was easy for me, in less than seven minutes of arriving at the ATM I was able to withdraw my money.”

Similarly at another bank at Wuse 2, only a handful of customers were spotted at the ATM gallery and the banking hall with the usual sharing of numbers to customers now a thing of the past.

A woman, who simply identified herself as Victoria said: “I hope it will last, I hope it is not for the short term because the suffering of accessing one’s money at the banks is too much.”

A bank staff with one of the deposit money banks at Banex in Abuja who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they have enough cash to pay customers and they have been paying all through the weekend till Monday.

He said: “We paid all through Saturday and Sunday, customers were able to collect N20,000, as of today individuals were able to collect N100,000 and corporate accounts were able to collect one million naira.

“From what I have seen, there is enough cash that will sustain us through this week and hopefully next week.”

Persecondnews recalls that despite the ruling of the Supreme Court on March 3, Nigerians still queued for hours and battled with the cash crunch.

The Supreme Court had ruled that the old and new notes of N200, N500 and N1000 should remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.

A week after the Supreme Court judgment, the CBN after the Bankers Committee meeting presided over by Gov. Godwin Emefiele finally directed commercial banks to dispense old naira notes and also receive same as deposits from customers.

To further ease off the cash crunch and also increase the money in circulation, Emefiele at the CBN headquarters briefed newsmen on Wednesday March 22, that currency in circulation was roughly N1 trillion.

Emefiele said: “Currency in circulation is roughly close to N1 trillion and the CBN continues to pump the newly designed currency into the market.”

On March 24, the apex bank directed deposit money banks to open for operations on Saturday and Sunday to ease the circulation and injection of cash into the economy as it evacuates banknotes to commercial banks across the country.

A statement by the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, Dr Isa Abdulmumin, obtained by Persecondnews, said various denominations of banknotes had been received by commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers.

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