• Monday, April 22, 2024
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Nigerians shy away from banks after cash crunch

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As the cash crunch eases with banks now making cash available through the automated teller machines (ATMs) and banking halls, many Nigerians are still smarting from the agony they went through.

While the increasing availability of cash has doused tension amongst the populace on the safety of their money in the banks, many say they now keep their money at home rather than take it to banks.

Many traders are keeping the new naira notes they collect from customers in anticipation of another opportunity to sell banknotes as they did when cash was very scarce in the country.

Many traders have shifted to fintechs, like Opay and Palmpay, and so would prefer to remain and deal with e-payment options than the conventional banks who were not there for them during the cash crisis.

Victor Olajide, a mechanic at Mowe Ibafon in Ogun State says he will never take his money to the banks again.

Lamenting his frustration during the cash crunch, he said: “I received money from my customers through my bank to buy motor parts, and when I needed to get the money at the market, I paid extra cash, up to 30 percent, to get the cash.”

“At the end of the day, I did that work at a loss because my customer felt it was my problem. He said I did not need to withdraw cash to buy parts, that instead I should have transferred to the people I was buying the parts from.”

When he was asked why he did not transfer the money via USSD or a bank app, he said: “I don’t know how to transfer with my phone. I don’t want this ‘yahoo boys’ to take my money.”

“I would prefer that customers give me cash than what I suffered to get the cash they sent to me,” he added. “For me, I don’t have confidence in government and leaders of this country again.”

Chinedu sells food stuff at a major market in Lagos. He puts aside the new naira notes and gives out old notes to customers who come to buy, whether they bring old or new notes.

When asked by our correspondent why he was stockpiling the new notes, he said: “You don’t know that this scarcity will come again. I don’t want what happened to me the last time to happen again.”

Chinedu believes there would be scarcity of naira notes again when the old notes are phased out of circulation later this year.

Read also: Exchange rate stable across markets amid cash crunch

Chika Onwunali, managing consultant, Premium Debate, had noted earlier that the only solution to the scarcity of cash was for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and deposit money banks to rise up to the challenge to make cash available through the banks.

According to him, it’s only when people are able to get cash from banks that they will stop patronising Point of Sale operators and traders who are selling money at premium.

“It’s unfortunate that people take advantage of every situation to unleash hardship on other people, but regretting that this is the society we find ourselves,” Onwunali said.

He also challenged the CBN and the law enforcement agents to make some people a scapegoat in situations like this so that people can learn to do things the right way.