Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Nigerians shun banks, now prefer to keep money at home

– Nigerians may have have abandoned keeping their monies in banks  

– Some have identified greed, corruption and instability of the financial sector as their reasons 

– Their homes are now the new safe haven for their money A survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria has revealed that many Nigerians now keep their monies at home instead of the banks.
CBN governor, Godwin Emiefiele and his team has a lot of work to do Experts spoken to also bemoaned the new trend that many say is becoming the norm among Nigerians, especially illiterates. Rotimi Agboluaje, a financial analyst stated that the the trend had impacted negatively on the economy. He cited illiteracy, lack of financial education and lack of confidence in the banking sector as reasons for the new trend. According to Agboluaje, it would be difficult to manage the economy, especially the liquidity in the system, if the amount in circulation was not known. He however advocated for public enlightenment, financial inclusiveness and strict enforcement of the extant laws to address the situation. On his part, Professor Olajumoke Adeosun-Familoni of ICLED School of Business and Leadership, said many keep money in their homes to ensure easy access while avoiding the stress of banking operations. Adeosun-Familoni who is also lecturer in the Department of Management and Accounting, Lead City University, Ibadan, also said many keep foreign currencies at home in order to sell for profit at an auspicious time. 
 Also speaking, Oluwatoyin Sanni, the group chief executive officer of the United Capital Group, identified corruption and ignorance as major reasons why Nigerians keep money at home. His words: “There are two categories of people in Nigeria who keep money at home, prominent Nigerians and the uninformed people.’’ Abeokuta-based economist, Sunday Adelani, said Nigerians keep money at home to avoid what they describe as “unnecessary and high charges not clear to them on their accounts’’. He urged banks to reward customers who were loyal and consistent in their saving habit with higher interest rate and also reduce bank charges on depositors’ accounts. An Associate Professor in the Department of Accounting, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Dr Onafowokan Oluyombo, said there could be no proper statistics of the nation’s money in circulation because of the new trend. He said the effect of keeping money at home meant the denial of more opportunities to give loans for productive purposes and destabilisation of the economic system. 
He added that the practice had negative effect because such huge funds were not being made functional in the society. “The real solution to building Nigeria’s financial fortune is to holistically promote a sustainable culture of savings. “It is these savings that can fuel Nigeria’s passionate entrepreneurial spirits. Nigerians will have to be the one investing in Nigeria more than foreign investors. “When people have substantial funds in savings, they can easily plan, invest and lead a better life and the economy will then thrive again,’’ Dr Oluyombo said.
Meanwhile, a banker, John Ajisafe said the policies put in place by the present administration could solve the problem of keeping cash at home. Ajisafe said with the advent of Treasury Single Account (TSA), money was no longer being embezzled with impunity. An economist, Tosin Yusuf, called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sensitise Nigerians on savings culture through a sustained awareness campaign aimed at promoting banking consciousness in the people. He also called for a liberal monetary policy by the CBN to make banking more accessible and IT-driven for accelerated transactions. Dorcas Wojuade, a banker, disagrees, according to her, customers have the right to either keep money in the bank or at their place of abode. She also stated that the statistics of currency in circulation had always been made available by the CBN. Larai Bokkos, a bank customer, said that she had always opted to keep her money at home to escape banks’ ever increasing charges. “Besides, banking my money has become very insignificant because of dwindling interest rates,” she said. Another bank customer, Ali Ahmadu, explained that he stopped saving money in his bank account because of the bank’s poor services, especially the ATM. “Getting money from the ATMs can be frustrating. Aside the queues, you may not even get anything while your account will be debited,” he said.  Meanwhile, foremost airline, British Airways, has described Nigeria’s business operating environment as harsh. This was the submission of the head of Middle East, Africa and Central Asia sales, of the airline, Paola De Renzis.

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