CBN governor, bank chiefs on a collision course over amount of new notes – Newstrends
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CBN governor, bank chiefs on a collision course over amount of new notes

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The cash crunch that hit most banks in the country since Monday, January 30, 2023 continued yesterday as banks said they had not been getting enough cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disburse to their customers.

Consequently, the Association Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make public how much new naira notes it had pushed into circulation, even as it expressed worry over the scarcity of new and old naira notes in the country.

The president of ASSBIFI, Comrade Olusoji Oluwole, lamented that Nigerians are going through excruciating difficulties in order to feed and do business transactions because of the cash crunch brought by the policy. He called for a review of the policy in order to save Nigerians from further hardship.

Oluwole urged the CBN to publicly declare how much of the new Naira notes has been printed and distributed so far to banks for disbursement compared with what has been withdrawn from the public.

The ASSBIFI helmsman disclosed that its independent study showed that the volume of the new notes in circulation is highly insufficient and most of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have no new notes to dispense, while some of those dispensing are still paying out old notes.

“Nigerians have been reduced to moving from one ATM point to another in search of new Naira notes that should have been abundantly supplied. Pressure has been on bank workers who interface with the angry public in the process of depositing old or withdrawing the new notes, and we request urgent actions by the CBN to avoid attacks and other unruly actions against these bank workers as their safety and health are of great concern to the union to us in ASSBIFI,” Oluwole said.

A banker who craved anonymity said addressing the scarcity of cash is something that only the CBN can do, even as he said there ought to be discussions between the CBN and the committee of bank chief executives on how to address the ongoing scenario.

“The CBN should know what our requirements are, they should know what we require and how much will serve our customers. A bank that has over 300 branches and the CBN is giving them only N350 million; that means N1 million per branch. How do we deal with this?

The cash crunch that hit most banks in the country since Monday, January 30, 2023 continued yesterday as banks said they have not been getting enough cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disburse to their customers.

Consequently, the Association Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make public how much new Naira notes it had pushed into circulation, even as it expressed worry over the scarcity of new and old Naira notes in the country.

The president of ASSBIFI, Comrade Olusoji Oluwole, lamented that Nigerians are going through excruciating difficulties in order to feed and do business transactions because of the cash crunch brought by the policy. He called for a review of the policy in order to save Nigerians from further hardship.

Oluwole urged the CBN to publicly declare how much of the new Naira notes has been printed and distributed so far to banks for disbursement compared with what has been withdrawn from the public.

The ASSBIFI helmsman disclosed that its independent study showed that the volume of the new notes in circulation is highly insufficient and most of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have no new notes to dispense, while some of those dispensing are still paying out old notes.

“Nigerians have been reduced to moving from one ATM point to another in search of new Naira notes that should have been abundantly supplied. Pressure has been on bank workers who interface with the angry public in the process of depositing old or withdrawing the new notes, and we request urgent actions by the CBN to avoid attacks and other unruly actions against these bank workers as their safety and health are of great concern to the union to us in ASSBIFI,” Oluwole said.

A banker who craved anonymity said addressing the scarcity of cash is something that only the CBN can do, even as he said there ought to be discussions between the CBN and the committee of bank chief executives on how to address the ongoing scenario.

“The CBN should know what our requirements are, they should know what we require and how much will serve our customers. A bank that has over 300 branches and the CBN is giving them only N350 million; that means N1 million per branch. How do we deal with this?

“We can’t even pay with the old note and we don’t have the new notes. The new trend is that, because banks don’t want to get in trouble, they are paying customers in N100 and N20 notes. And that is because they don’t want more problems. Customers are protesting that they want their money and since the lower denominations are still legal tender, banks are paying with them.

“There is a shortage of cash everywhere. We did not envisage what is happening now. The only place where a solution can come is from CBN. The CBN should release more cash, and at the CEO level, there should be engagements with CBN on this,” the banker stated.

The president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has attributed the current scarcity of old/new Naira notes coupled with fuel scarcity and hike in pump prices to systemic failure and corruption.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP in Lagos yesterday, Wabba said: “Millions of man-hours are lost with many people now rendered unproductive by scarcity of old, new Naira notes while people now spend hours on queue for fuel in a society blessed with abundant human and natural resources.

“The unbanked people living in rural areas and marketers are feeling the pain more as they don’t have any other means of survival. There are no old and new maira notes for people to transact business. Why the haste in implementation of Naira redesign which could have been allowed to flow side by side for months before old notes are eventually mopped up.”

Nationwide, bank tellers have been turning customers away as they say there is no cash to pay them, and queues at the few Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that are paying cash are growing longer.

Ngozi, a trader who sells electrical materials alongside her husband in Lagos said she is already running low on cash and does not know if she will be able to open her shop by the end of the week if the cash crunch continues.

“All the people that have been patronising my shop have been doing transfers which even misbehaves. I went to the bank to collect cash so that we can have money to run around and I was told that I can only get N2000. I have money in the bank and I can’t take it. It is very frustrating,” she said.

The cash crunch that hit most banks in the country since Monday, January 30, 2023 continued yesterday as banks said they have not been getting enough cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disburse to their customers.

Consequently, the Association Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make public how much new Naira notes it had pushed into circulation, even as it expressed worry over the scarcity of new and old Naira notes in the country.

The president of ASSBIFI, Comrade Olusoji Oluwole, lamented that Nigerians are going through excruciating difficulties in order to feed and do business transactions because of the cash crunch brought by the policy. He called for a review of the policy in order to save Nigerians from further hardship.

Oluwole urged the CBN to publicly declare how much of the new Naira notes has been printed and distributed so far to banks for disbursement compared with what has been withdrawn from the public.

The ASSBIFI helmsman disclosed that its independent study showed that the volume of the new notes in circulation is highly insufficient and most of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have no new notes to dispense, while some of those dispensing are still paying out old notes.

“Nigerians have been reduced to moving from one ATM point to another in search of new Naira notes that should have been abundantly supplied. Pressure has been on bank workers who interface with the angry public in the process of depositing old or withdrawing the new notes, and we request urgent actions by the CBN to avoid attacks and other unruly actions against these bank workers as their safety and health are of great concern to the union to us in ASSBIFI,” Oluwole said.

A banker who craved anonymity said addressing the scarcity of cash is something that only the CBN can do, even as he said there ought to be discussions between the CBN and the committee of bank chief executives on how to address the ongoing scenario.

“The CBN should know what our requirements are, they should know what we require and how much will serve our customers. A bank that has over 300 branches and the CBN is giving them only N350 million; that means N1 million per branch. How do we deal with this?

“We can’t even pay with the old note and we don’t have the new notes. The new trend is that, because banks don’t want to get in trouble, they are paying customers in N100 and N20 notes. And that is because they don’t want more problems. Customers are protesting that they want their money and since the lower denominations are still legal tender, banks are paying with them.

“There is a shortage of cash everywhere. We did not envisage what is happening now. The only place where a solution can come is from CBN. The CBN should release more cash, and at the CEO level, there should be engagements with CBN on this,” the banker stated.

The president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has attributed the current scarcity of old/new Naira notes coupled with fuel scarcity and hike in pump prices to systemic failure and corruption.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP in Lagos yesterday, Wabba said: “Millions of man-hours are lost with many people now rendered unproductive by scarcity of old, new Naira notes while people now spend hours on queue for fuel in a society blessed with abundant human and natural resources.

“The unbanked people living in rural areas and marketers are feeling the pain more as they don’t have any other means of survival. There are no old and new maira notes for people to transact business. Why the haste in implementation of Naira redesign which could have been allowed to flow side by side for months before old notes are eventually mopped up.”

Nationwide, bank tellers have been turning customers away as they say there is no cash to pay them, and queues at the few Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that are paying cash are growing longer.

Ngozi, a trader who sells electrical materials alongside her husband in Lagos said she is already running low on cash and does not know if she will be able to open her shop by the end of the week if the cash crunch continues.

“All the people that have been patronising my shop have been doing transfers which even misbehaves. I went to the bank to collect cash so that we can have money to run around and I was told that I can only get N2000. I have money in the bank and I can’t take it. It is very frustrating,” she said.

A roadside fruit seller said all her regular customers have been paying her with transfers and the few who are paying cash have paid with the new notes.

“All the transfers that my customers did yesterday, I am yet to get the alert but since they are my regulars, I am not so worried. This scarcity of cash has to end soon”, she said.

A business woman in Lagos, Mrs Kome Enobong, told LEADERSHIP that she left her home as early as 7am to her bank to withdraw some of the funds in her account, only to be told that there is no money to give to her.

“I have visited three Union Bank branches, but I couldn’t withdraw my money. I was told that there is no money in the bank to give to me. This is my money that I have worked for. The ATMs are not dispensing cash either. How am I going to feed my children, because right now, I don’t even have money on me?,” Mrs Enobong lamented.

A teacher, Mr James Niyi who also shared his ordeal with LEADERSHIP, said, “I cannot withdraw my own hard earned money from my bank. I had to use POS, where I spent N1,000 to get N10,000. This is really pathetic,” Niyi said, calling on CBN to intervene.

A POS operator, Mr Okanlawon noted that, they have not been able to do business as usual as there is no cash to give to customers who continue to throng his shop in search of cash. “My customers have been begging me for cash but what can I do if I don’t have the cash to give them? If this continues, I hope that people don’t take to the streets to riot over scarcity of cash.”

As of yesterday, some POS operators were charging N1,500 for N10,000 withdrawals while some were charging N1,000.

Mrs Akin, a civil servant, said after lots of begging and shouting in the bank, she was able to get N5,000, paid in N5 notes.

LEADERSHIP had, on Tuesday, reported that business activities were paralysed in Lagos State as bank customers queued for long hours at Automated Teller Machine (ATM) terminals across Lagos State to withdraw cash.

Similarly, electronic banking transfer through the mobile app, or USSD code, as well as Point of Sales (POS) machines network were extremely poor as people could not pay for services rendered through the electronic banking system.

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JUST IN: Nigeria’s forex reserves hit 3-month high

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JUST IN: Nigeria’s forex reserves hit 3-month high

Nigeria’s foreign exchange (FX) reserves have climbed to their highest level since March 28, 2024, marking a significant financial achievement that aligns with the longest stretch of exchange rate stability seen in over a year.

This milestone comes as Nigeria secures a series of financial commitments from the World Bank through new multilateral loans.

The latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reveals that the reserves now stand at $33.58 billion as of June 19, 2024. This marks a substantial recovery from the end of March 2024, when the reserves peaked at $33.83 billion before entering a period of decline.

The rise in FX reserves follows three months of notable fluctuations, which saw the reserves plummet to a low of $32.11 billion on April 19, 2024, raising concerns about the nation’s financial stability. In response, the central bank Governor addressed the issue at the IMF Spring meeting in April.

Since then, a steady and consistent upward trajectory has been observed, coinciding with a period of exchange rate stability. This month, the official exchange rate has averaged N1,481/$1, fluctuating within a narrow band of plus or minus 0.06%.

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According to CBN data, forex reserves have risen by 5%, or $1.47 billion, in the last two months, climbing from $32.11 billion on April 19, 2024, to $33.58 billion by June 19, 2024. This growth represents a significant boost for the country’s external reserves, as the CBN continues to implement policies that attract forex liquidity.

Critics, however, will note the improved liquidity position, considering the myriad of policies implemented by the central bank over the past year and several promises of potential forex inflow from foreign portfolio investors. Improved liquidity in forex turnover has been observed, with the average turnover for June to date at $199 million daily compared to $168 million in the same period in May. Total forex turnover in June is now $2.1 billion, spanning 11 days of trading.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) recently urged the CBN to focus on boosting external reserves. The Monetary Policy Communique from its 295th meeting noted:

“The Committee also noted the marginal increase in the external reserve balance between March and April 2024 and urged the Bank to sustain its focus on accretion to reserves.”

To ensure a steady flow of foreign exchange into the country, the CBN plans to double diaspora remittance inflows this year.

Additionally, Afrexim Bank recently disbursed $925 million, another tranche of the $3.3 billion crude oil-backed loan agreement with the NNPC from last year. This brings the total payment for the facility to $3.175 billion, aiming to stabilize the forex market amid severe volatility.

Moreover, the World Bank has approved $2.25 billion in loans to Nigeria to bolster economic stability and support vulnerable populations. This financial injection is designed to provide immediate financial and technical support for Nigeria’s urgent economic stabilization efforts.

JUST IN: Nigeria’s forex reserves hit 3-month high

(NAIRAMETRICS)

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Naira at par selling N1,485/$ in parallel, official markets

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Naira at par selling N1,485/$ in parallel, official markets

The Naira yesterday appreciated in the parallel market to N1,485 per dollar from N1,490 per dollar on Wednesday.

However, the Naira depreciated to N1,485.36 per dollar in the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, NAFEM.

Data from FMDQ showed that the indicative exchange rate for NAFEM rose to N1,485.06 per dollar from N1,483.02 per dollar on Wednesday, indicating N2.04 depreciation for the naira.

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Consequently, the margin between the parallel market and NAFEM rates narrowed to 36 kobo per dollar from N6.98 per dollar on Wednesday.

Naira at par selling N1,485/$ in parallel, official markets

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R.T. Briscoe begins conversion of vehicles to run on CNG/LPG 

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R.T. Briscoe begins conversion of vehicles to run on CNG/LPG 

R.T. Briscoe Plc has commenced conversion of petrol and diesel vehicles to run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Group Managing Director of the company, Mr Seyi Onajide, disclosed this during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos.

He also unveiled a number projects embarked upon by the company including securing the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise N10 billion through a savings and investments scheme.

Onajide said the automotive division of the conglomerate decided to set up a CNG/LPG conversion facility in line with the Federal Government’s CNG initiative (Pi-CNG).

“We started the conversion of petrol or diesel engine cars into CNG and LPG without government funding and we believe it is the future of automobile industry. We have successfully done that on some pick-up vehicles,” he said.

The R.T. Briscoe CEO said the company had submitted a proposal to the Presidential CNG committee.

“They invited us to participate in the CNG initiative. We believe that the average vehicle owner in Nigeria and even commuters can benefit from this initiative because it has a lot of benefits. It will save costs for the motoring public,” he said.

Onajide said the CNG conversion kits being used are manufactured in Europe with one of the best global rating standards .

He added that the automotive division of the R.T. Briscoe has well-trained technical and professional team that could handle the installation.

Even as he noted that the future looked promising, he observed the initiative could be impeded by the non-availability of CNG and LPG refilling stations and expressed support for a hybrid model.

He said, R.T. Briscoe had approached some corporate institutions that are fleet owners that have justifiable reasons to build gas-refilled plants on their premises.

According to him, until gas-refilling stations are readily available, CNG would be limited to big organisations that could house and store gas.

The highpoint of the event was the inspection with a test drive of the finished vehicles converted to run on CNG.

RT Briscoe Plc is engaged in the sales and servicing of Toyota vehicles, technical services, material handling and property development and management.

The Presidential CNG Initiative (Pi-CNG) is a component of the palliative intervention of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration directed at providing succour to the masses occasioned by the hardships of the fuel subsidy removal policy of the Federal Government.

With a projected $2.5 billion investment by 2027, the Presidential CNG Initiative plans to drive Nigeria towards a sustainable and prosperous future, where every citizen has the opportunity to thrive.

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