CBN directs banks to open Saturdays, Sundays as it releases banknotes to ease scarcity

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has confirmed the evacuation of banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country.


According to a statement issued by the CBN’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications of the CBN, Dr Isa AbdulMumin, the evacuation is part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations.

AbdulMumin said that the CBN also directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays to meet their customers’ demands. He said that the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele would personally monitor the compliance of the commercial banks to the directive.

A substantial amount released

While the CBN spokesperson did not state the exact amount released to the banks, he said a substantial amount of money in various denominations had been received by the banks for onward circulation to their customers.

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  • “The CBN has also directed all banks to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as well as conduct physical operations in the banking halls through the weekends.
  • “Branches of commercial banks will operate on Saturdays and Sundays to attend to customers’ cash needs,” he said.

He urged Nigerians to exercise patience as the current situation would soon ease off with the injection of more banknotes into circulation.

What you should know

Since the redesign of the N1,000, N500, and N200 notes by the CBN, Nigerians have been battling with the scarcity of cash. While there had been a back-and-forth on the deadline for the old notes to cease to be legal tender, a Supreme Court ruling on March 3rd ordered that the old notes should remain legal tender until December 31st.

However, the cash scarcity has continued as banks are in short supply of even the old notes. In Lagos, for instance, most bank ATMs remain empty, while a few loaded with cash have long queues. Due to the scarcity of cash, banks are also rationing the little they have to dispense through the ATMs by limiting withdrawal per account to N10,000 a day, even when the CBN’s cashless policy stipulates N20,000 daily withdrawal limit for an individual.

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