Most Nigerians, especially the average ones, appear to be going through very difficult moments of their lives over the non-circulation of the redesigned legal tender.
Their hardship has been worsened by crises of fuel hikes and scarcity, and skyrocketing prices of food items, transportation fares and other items.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had ordered Deposit Money Banks to load new naira notes on their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for Nigerians to withdraw.
However, checks by Investors King revealed that customers have been complaining of insufficient cash in the ATMs, adding that they are being exploited by operators of Points of Sales (PoS) who have been charging them higher for withdrawing new notes.
Further findings by Investors King showed that some bankers have been involved in shady deals with racketeers through illegal sales of the new currency.
Due to the scarcity of the new notes and failure of most commercial banks to load their ATMs with them, black marketers took advantage of the situation, allegedly purchase new notes from some bankers and sell to customers in dire need of same at exorbitant rates.
These black marketers loiter around some banks in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, among others seeking patronage from Nigerians who couldn’t get money from the ATMs and those who couldn’t withstand the long queues.
Some of the currency sellers, during separate interviews, revealed that they buy the new notes from some bank officials, adding that such act is one of the reasons why most ATMs are lacking the new notes nor dispensing the old currency
One of the currency dealers said they have been selling the redesigned notes and making huge gains. One of them who identified himself as Umar in Abuja said they often sell N10,000 for N13,000 and N20, 000 for N26,000 in all the denominations the buyer needs
Some of the racketeers claimed that they don’t really purchase the new notes from bankers, rather, they give incentives and maintain suck relationship with the officials of financial institutions.
Also, PoS operators have been fingered in the exploitation and shady financial deals as customers decried that they now pay more charges to withdraw.
PoS operators are said to now charge between N500 and N700 for withdrawal of N5000 and higher charges for withdrawal beyond N5000 that would be paid in new notes.
“It’s now difficult for one to get the money he or she suffered for in this country. People are really going through a lot these days because of this new naira notes. Banks no longer load their ATMs with new notes and where they do, the queues are so unbearable. Because of this, some people have been going to the banks to buy these new notes and sell to people.
“I almost went broke yesterday while trying to withdraw. The annoying part is that traders are now rejecting the old notes. I had to pay more charge of N500 to collect N5000 from a PoS man in my area. The man told me that he had to pay his way out in the bank before getting the new notes,” a resident of Nsukka, Gloria Kelechi narrated.
At some ATM points, customers had to fight their way out before withdrawing while others were left stranded because they couldn’t join the chaotic queues.
85.51 Million Nigerian Bank Customers Face Withdrawal Freeze Over NIN, BVN Deadline
As the March 1 deadline looms, an estimated 85.51 million Nigerian bank customers are facing the possibility of frozen accounts due to their failure to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) and/or Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to their accounts.
Recent findings reveal the potential scale of the impending banking crisis.
Data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) indicates that Nigeria had approximately 146 million active individual bank customers as of December 2022.
However, by January 26, 2024, only 60.49 million BVNs were recorded on the NIBSS portal, leaving a significant portion unlinked.
Meanwhile, about 104 million NINs had been issued by December 2023, highlighting the disparity between NIN issuance and BVN linkage.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier issued directives to banks, mandating them to restrict transactions on accounts lacking linked NINs and BVNs, with effect from March 1, 2024.
Any accounts found non-compliant risk being designated as ‘Post no Debit,’ rendering them unable to process further transactions.
Responding to the impending crisis, the Director-General of the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC), Abisoye Coker-Odusote, emphasized the need for the revalidation of Front-End Partners (FEPs) to ensure the integrity of the identity database.
She underscored the importance of NIN registration and urged collaboration with various stakeholders to expedite the process.
The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, reiterated the significance of linking NINs to SIM cards to enhance national security.
Telecom subscribers were urged to comply with the NIN-SIM linkage directive to avoid service disruptions.
Meanwhile, financial service providers like Opay have issued reminders of the impending restrictions, urging customers to comply with the linkage requirements.
Amidst concerns, some customers contemplate transferring funds to compliant accounts to avoid potential financial setbacks.
As the deadline approaches, stakeholders are intensifying efforts to mitigate the impact of the impending banking crisis on millions of Nigerians.
Central Bank of Nigeria Injects Over $300 Million to Stabilize Naira-Dollar Exchange Rate
In a bid to mitigate the continuous depreciation of the naira against the dollar, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected over $300 million into the foreign exchange market.
This move comes amidst concerns over the instability of the naira-dollar exchange rate, which has seen rates soar as high as N1850/$ in recent trading sessions.
The Association of Corporate Treasurers of Nigeria revealed the CBN’s intervention in an advisory memo to its members, highlighting the significant injections made over the past two weeks.
The memo underscores the urgency to address the steep decline in the value of the naira, which has posed challenges to businesses and individuals alike.
The CBN’s proactive measures signal a concerted effort to stabilize the forex market and restore confidence in the domestic currency.
The injection of funds aims to provide liquidity and alleviate pressure on the naira, which has experienced rapid depreciation in recent weeks.
Market analysts anticipate that the CBN’s intervention will help mitigate the volatility of the naira-dollar exchange rate, providing relief to businesses and consumers grappling with the economic uncertainties.
The move reflects the CBN’s commitment to maintaining stability in the forex market and fostering economic growth amidst challenging times.
FBN Holdings Surpasses GTCO, Zenith Bank to Become Nigeria’s Most Valuable Bank
FBN Holdings has emerged as Nigeria’s most valuable bank, surpassing Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) and Zenith Bank in terms of market capitalization.
At the close of trading on Monday, FBN Holdings achieved a market capitalization of N1.22 trillion, solidifying its position at the forefront of the banking sector.
The bank’s market cap is now higher than GTCO’s N1.16 trillion and Zenith Bank’s N1.11 trillion.
The surge in FBN Holdings’ market capitalization represents a 56.68% increase since Femi Otedola assumed the role of chairman on January 31st.
Otedola’s stewardship has been instrumental in driving FBN Holdings’ exponential growth.
Since he was appointed a non-executive director in August 2023 and subsequent ratification by shareholders, his leadership has been characterized by strategic decision-making and investor confidence.
Holdings’ shares have risen from N21.70 to N34 under his chairmanship, representing a significant boost for investors and shareholders.
The market’s positive response to Otedola’s leadership underscores the importance of effective governance and visionary leadership in driving financial performance and investor value.
Minority shareholders have expressed optimism about Otedola’s impact on dividend payments and capital appreciation, highlighting his track record of prioritizing shareholder interests in his previous roles.
FBN Holdings’ ascent to the top spot signals a new era of growth and stability for the bank, setting the stage for continued success in Nigeria’s dynamic financial landscape.
As the banking sector navigates evolving market conditions, FBN Holdings’ position at the pinnacle reflects its resilience and adaptability in driving sustainable value for stakeholders.
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