Currency Outside Banks (CoB) dropped by N27.5 billion, or 0.55 percent, month-on-month to N3.6 trillion in April from N3.627 trillion in March 2024.

Central Banks of Nigeria (CBN)
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

According to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for March, released yesterday, this is the first decline in CoB this year. It had been increasing since January 2024 after falling by 4.37 percent to N3.28 trillion in December 2023 from N3.43 trillion.

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In contrast, currency in circulation (CIC) rose by 1.5 percent month-on-month to N3.92 trillion in April from N3.86 trillion in March.

The decrease in CoB might reflect issues with cash availability in banks. Bank customers have complained about limited cash withdrawals from banks and ATMs. Some Point of Sale (PoS) operators have also reported difficulties accessing cash from banks, forcing them to find alternative sources or close early.

Mrs. Omobola Beauty, a PoS agent, told Vanguard: “It is difficult to get cash from the bank now. I used to withdraw N100,000 to N200,000 over the counter. Yesterday, I was told I could only withdraw N50,000. The situation is so bad that some banks limit withdrawals to N20,000, even for agents.

“I have to manage with less than N50,000 for my business. Even traders who usually deposit money are not doing so. I’ve been using an ATM card for transfers all day. No one has brought cash for transfer.”

Mr. Jerry Iduzogie, another agent, said: “This cash scarcity in banks started last week. My bank, which used to give agents up to N300,000, now only allows N20,000 from the counter or ATM. I had to get help from my wife, who sourced cash from her trader friends to keep my business running this week.”

Miss Rebbeca Daniels, also an agent, said: “A friend at the bank told me there’s no cash because people aren’t depositing money. Shops have PoS terminals for transfers and withdrawals, so the cash stays with the public instead of going back to the bank. Today, the bank gave me only N10,000. I rely on local traders for cash to keep my business going.”