• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
businessday logo


Bleak Christmas beckons as long queues resurface at ATMs in Edo

New Naira: queues at ATMs will disappear soon says CBN

Residents in Edo State may be in for a difficult festive season as some Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in the state fail to dispense cash to holidaymakers and those planning to purchase food commodities and shop other items during the period.

Most cash machines visited on Thursday within Benin metropolis were not dispensing cash as they displayed depressing messages, such as “Out of service, ATM unable to dispense cash at the moment, Use other cashless services”, to intending customers. While others that dispensed, intermittently paid the cash.

The situation, which has in the past one week led to the reappearance of long queues at different cashpoints in several tier-1 banks, has further compounded the problems of cash-trapped Nigerians who are now left with no option but to borrow to celebrate the season.

While some observers say it is a phenomenon of December as there are heavy withdrawals, others opined that the monies meant for customers are being given to Point of Sales (PoS) vendors to do business who in turn benefit from the charges.

“This has become a problem every year prior to Christmas. Imagine leaving my house at 8am and waiting patiently for the ATM to pay me before the end of the day because I need the cash to go to the market to buy some stuff to celebrate Christmas with my family,” says Paul Osariemen, a Benin resident.

Read also: Nigerians tighten belts for Christmas as inflation bites

In the same vein, Precious Orobosa said she visited the ATM but couldn’t withdraw because it was out of service and even when she entered the banking hall to collect cash she was told to collect not more than N50,000, the maximum daily limit.

“Since December 10 or so, I have been facing challenges to collect my hard-earned money. Even when I entered the banking hall, they told me that the only way I can withdraw is if other customers come to the bank to deposit cash.

“We are already suffering from the hike of food items and, now, we can’t even have access to our cash. The more I stay here hoping it will pay, the higher the prices of food items in the market,” she groaned.

Traders are not left out of the situation as their hopes are gradually dashed after restocking their shops with fresh supplies while anticipating a bumper sales of their wares.

“There is nothing to celebrate because buying and selling has been affected by a lot of things. As you can see, I have exhibited my goods for consumers to buy but it seems the market is not encouraging. I doubt if we will make a massive boost in sales and profits during this season because people are managing to survive as there is no money anywhere,” says Cyril Chinedu, who sells bags of rice.