Access to cash remains a major challenge for Nigerians despite efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to monitor distribution of the new naira notes through its Banks’ Branch Spot-Checks on ATMs and many cash-starved citizens are worried the situation would impact the valentine’s day celebration.
For weeks, cash-starved citizens have experienced perilous times making cash withdrawals from their deposits with commercial banks, leading to protests and attacks on several bank facilities in the country.
Trade blames between the CBN and commercial banks over the poor circulation of the newly designed naira notes led to a nation-wide monitoring exercise by the apex bank.
The Banks’ Branch Spot-Checks on ATMs was carried out in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), in exercise of the CBN’s administration and control functions over the monetary and financial sector.
This action uncovered stacks of cash hoarded by the banks which they had deprived their customers of having and led to the arrests of some bank staff.
But regardless of these measures and despite assurances from the regulator and the Supreme Court’s ruling, the situation has worsened as even Point of Sales (POS) operators are also unable to meet the demand for cash withdrawals, while over-the-counter and ATM withdrawals remain restricted to between N1000 – N5000 per day.
According to a recent report on the average amount spent on valentine’s day gifts by individuals across different countries in 2021, Nigerians spent an average of EUR 24 (N11,295) on Valentine’s day.
It went further to state that men spend more on Valentine’s gifts (N22,154) than women (N10,000) and 91 per cent of Nigerians celebrate Valentine’s day while only 9 per cent do not.
However, with the cash crisis biting even harder, many Nigerians are now compelled to cultivate a lifestyle of saving, as they starve themselves off certain wants and pleasures which may translate into investment and impact interest rates.