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 released by the apex bank in Abuja on Friday, this is part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations in Nigeria.
The CBN through its Acting Director of the Corporate Communications Department, Dr Isa AbdulMumin, has also directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays.
“A substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers,” AbdulMumin disclosed in the statement.
According to him, 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 noted.
AbdulMumin also added that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, would personally lead teams to monitor the level of compliance by the banks in various locations across the country.
He urged Nigerians to be patient as the current situation would ease soon with the injection of more banknotes into circulation.
Nigeria was hit by a cash crisis after the CBN redesigned three banknotes and put a cap on cash withdrawals.
The cash supply crisis has disrupted businesses across the country, forcing a good number of businesses to shut down.
The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) even directed all its branches and affiliate unions to mobilize members for a shutdown of all the branches of the CBN across the country over cash scarcity.
The apex bank on Thursday evening met with the NLC at the Labour House Abuja.
The labour union leaders, while addressing journalists, said that activities in all branches of the CBN nationwide and the Abuja headquarters will be shut down next week Wednesday due to the cash crunch in the country.
He said Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardship occasioned by the scarcity of naira notes to attend to medical needs and other areas of need.