- Christmas: ATMs Running Out of Cash
Less than 24 hours to Christmas, many bank customers yesterday faced hard times trying to make withdrawals at Automated Teller machines (ATMs) for their purchases due to long queues and occasional inability of the ATMs to dispense cash, as online banking platforms have been frustrating transactions initiations in the last three days.
This had made many customers to travel from one bank to another to make withdrawals.
Customers living in these areas complained of snag and outright decline to online transactions initiation, a case that has been noticed in over nine banks.
Queues were very long, with majority of customers wearing long faces after several trials and slow response, with reports of transactions failure.
The development, which has already caused panic among customers, was made worse, as all the banks joined the holiday break at the close of work yesterday.
There are fears that the situation could get worse during the celebrations and public holidays, as most banks hardly reload the machines on weekends and public holidays, let alone during the Yuletide.
This means that official intervention can only be possible at the end of the holiday break on Tuesday.
In most parts of Lagos, especially in places with high population density, the queues have been frustrating, with some customers bemoaning their fate and wondering how they were going to be able to make merriment tomorrow.
At Festac, Okota, Ikotun, Surulere, Oshodi, Ikotun, Idimu, Egbeda, Airport road and some parts of Ikeja, most of the ATMs had been running out of cash since Tuesday, with customers trooping in to make cash withdrawals sometimes as early as 6:00 am.
It has become common sight to see customers trekking from bank to bank in search of functional ATMs, irrespective of the banks, to beat the rush and make withdrawals.
Most have different tales and some have indeed been spending more money on transport fares in attempts to make withdrawals.
In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), customers yesterday decried lack of money in many ATMs.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also observed long queues in most of the banks in the city.
Some of the banks include United Bank for Africa (UBA), First Bank of Nigeria Plc (FBN), Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) in Area 3; Ecobank, Gwarinpa and Zenith Bank in Dutse; and Diamond Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Sterling Bank, First City Monument Bank and Access Bank in Garki.
A customer at the First Bank in Area 3, Mrs. Esther Uche, said she had been waiting under the sun for over 20 minutes and had not been able to make withdrawal.
“The bank management is aware of the usual chaos during every festivity and ought to have made adequate provision, especially regarding availability of funds in ATMs,” she said.
A customer at the GTB, Mr. Gabriel Okwoche, said it was unfortunate that the banks had not been meeting customers’ demands.
Okwoche said he did not expect the queue at the banks, as many Nigerians complain about the recession and lack of money in circulation.
At the UBA, a customer, Miss Joy Edoh, told NAN that she had been to about four banks’ ATMs in Garki and unable get make withdrawals due to lack of cash in the machines.
Edoh said at the Access Bank in Garki, she and other customers waited for 30 minutes and when it got to her turn, the machine stopped dispensing cash.
“I am happy that the UBA ATMs are all working and I am sure to get money in the next five minutes,” she enthused.
At Union Bank, no customer was seen at the ATMs, as they were not dispensing cash.
At Diamond Bank, many customers were seen in the banking hall and there was a long queue of customers at the ATMs.
There were long queues at the Ecobank ATMs in Gwarinpa, with some already frustrated customers leaving the premises in annoyance.
One of them, Mr. John Johnson, called on the management of the various banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to do something about the queues at the banks.
“Today is December 23 and we have all the remaining days of the holiday to contend with and we are already experiencing insufficient funds. I wonder what we will face during the holidays.
“I implore the management of all the banks to ensure that the ATMs are loaded with cash. If this is not done, customers are bound to suffer during this Christmas celebration,” Johnson said.
Another customer at Ecobank, Mr. Emmanuel Adejo, said he was at the bank’s head office in Wuse 2, but could not withdraw.
According to Adejo, a bank official said the bank had insufficient funds, as CBN did not release enough money to it.
A customer at Zenith Bank in Dutse, Miss Talatu Abraham, said she was impressed that most ATMs at the bank were dispensing cash.
Abraham said that the bank was the only bank within the Dutse-Alhaji axis and was always crowded due to that fact of dispensing.
Oil Posts 2% Gain for the Week Despite India Virus Surge
Oil prices steadied on Friday and were set for a weekly gain against the backdrop of optimism over a global economic recovery, though the COVID-19 crisis in India capped prices.
Brent crude futures settled 0.28% higher at $68.28 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude advanced 0.29% to $64.90 per barrel.
Both Brent and WTI are on track for second consecutive weekly gains as easing restrictions on movement in the United States and Europe, recovering factory operations and coronavirus vaccinations pave the way for a revival in fuel demand.
In China, data showed export growth accelerated unexpectedly in April while a private survey pointed to strong expansion in service sector activity.
However, crude imports by the world’s biggest buyer fell 0.2% in April from a year earlier to 40.36 million tonnes, or 9.82 million barrels per day (bpd), the lowest since December.
In the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, jobless claims have dropped, signalling the labour market recovery has entered a new phase as the economy recovers.
The recovery in oil demand, however, has been uneven as surging COVID-19 cases in India reduce fuel consumption in the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer.
“Brent came within a whisker of breaking past $70 a barrel this week but failed at the final hurdle as demand uncertainty dragged on prices,” said Stephen Brennock at oil brokerage PVM.
The resurgence of COVID-19 in countries such as India, Japan and Thailand is hindering gasoline demand recovery, energy consultancy FGE said in a client note, though some of the lost demand has been offset by countries such as China, where recent Labour Day holiday travel surpassed 2019 levels.
“Gasoline demand in the U.S. and parts of Europe is faring relatively well,” FGE said.
“Further out, we could see demand pick up as lockdowns are eased and pent-up demand is released during the summer driving season.”
Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange to Commence Gold Trading
With the admission of Dukia Gold’s diversified financial instruments backed by gold as the underlying asset, Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange is set to commence gold trading.
According to Dukia Gold, the instruments will be in form of exchange-traded notes, commercial papers and other gold-backed securities, adding that it will enable the company to deepen the commodities market in Nigeria, increase capacity, generate foreign exchange for the Nigerian government to better diversify foreign reserves and create jobs across the metal production value chain.
Tunde Fagbemi, the Chairman, Dukia Gold, disclosed this while addressing journalists at Pre-Listing Media Interactive Session in Lagos on Thursday.
He said, “We are proud to be the first gold company whose products would be listed on the Lagos Futures and Commodities Exchange. The listing shall enable us facilitate our infrastructure development, expand capacity and create fungible products.
“This has potential to shore up Nigeria’s foreign reserve and create an alternative window for preservation of pension funds. A gold-backed security is a hedge against inflation and convenient preservation of capital.”
“As a global player, we comply with the practices and procedures of London Bullion Market Association and many other international bodies. Our refinery will also have multiplier effects on the development of rural areas anywhere it is located,” he added.
Mr Olusegun Akanji, the Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, Heritage Bank, said the lender had created a buying centre for verification of quality and quantity of gold and reference price to ensure price discovery in line with the global standard.
Oil Nears $70 as Easing Western Lockdowns Boost Summer Demand Outlook
Oil prices rose for a third day on Wednesday as easing of lockdowns in the United States and parts of Europe heralded a boost in fuel demand in summer season and offset concerns about the rise of COVID-19 infections in India and Japan.
Brent crude rose 93 cents, or 1.4%, to $69.81 a barrel at 1008 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 85 cents, or 1.3%, to $66.54 a barrel.
Both contracts hit the highest level since mid-March in intra-day trade.
“A return to $70 oil is edging closer to becoming reality,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.
“The jump in oil prices came amid expectations of strong demand as western economies reopen. Indeed, anticipation of a pick-up in fuel and energy usage in the United States and Europe over the summer months is running high,” he said.
Crude prices were also supported by a large fall in U.S. inventories.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) industry group reported crude stockpiles fell by 7.7 million barrels in the week ended April 30, according to two market sources. That was more than triple the drawdown expected by analysts polled by Reuters. Gasoline stockpiles fell by 5.3 million barrels.
Traders are awaiting data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration due at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday to see if official data shows such a large fall.
“If confirmed by the EIA, that would mark the largest weekly fall in the official data since late January,” Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note.
The rise in oil prices to nearly two-month highs has been supported by COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the United States and Europe.
Euro zone business activity accelerated last month as the bloc’s dominant services industry shrugged off renewed lockdowns and returned to growth.
“The partial lifting of mobility restrictions, the expectation that tourism will return in the near future, and the lure of the psychologically important $70 mark are all likely to have contributed to the price rise,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.
This has offset a drop in fuel demand in India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, which is battling a surge in COVID-19 infections.
“However, if we were to eventually see a national lockdown imposed, this would likely hit sentiment,” ING Economics analysts said of the situation in India.
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