Various areas in the Federal Capital Territory are experiencing cash shortfalls as residents ramp up spending in the lead up to Christmas festivities.
Visits to several Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the busy AYA neighbourhood of Abuja revealed that none were dispensing cash for about a week.
Point of Sale (PoS) operators were seen in long queues outside the banks hoping to take advantage of the rising transactions. One POS operator lamented irregular withdrawals from the ATMs despite increasing demand.
He attributed the cash scarcity partly to the pre-December spending surge but noted only the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could fully explain the development.
This is happening against the backdrop of a Supreme Court ruling which stated that both the old and new naira notes will remain legal tender indefinitely. This contradicted an earlier CBN December deadline for phasing out the old notes.
In response, the apex bank clarified that per its enabling Act, all naira banknotes issued by the CBN shall continue legal tender without any time limits.
With the Christmas rush set to propel financial activity to an annual peak, payment channels face mounting pressure to meet the surging transactions amid concerns over inadequate ATM dispensing and worries over liquidity bottlenecks as festivities commence. Residents will hope for improved cash availability going into the celebrations.