By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – As the lack of cash in private commercial banks is getting worse to the point where they are unable to pay their customers, investors and businessmen are forced to use other options instead of depositing their cash in the banks, sources said.
Wazema reported here on Saturday quoting traders and investors as saying that they had decided to withdraw their money gradually from the bank and keep it in private coffers and safe places at home. The investors’ concern reportedly is that when they are in need, it is difficult for them to draw their money as quickly as possible because of various restrictions.
Sources have indicated that the new procedure of bank-to-bank money transfer applied by some banks for selected customers has been stopped from time to time over the last few months.
One of the executives of a private commercial bank said “how can a customer who deposits one million birr today and knows that he won’t get the amount he needs the next day come here?” He pointed out that traders are keeping their cash at home. They are not willing to deposit their money in banks because they are unable to withdraw it when they are in need of it, according to the executive.
The branch managers of various banks that were approached by Wazema for an interview said that they are in a state in which they are closing their daily accounts with less than 50 thousand birr.
Bank branches have been making requests for cash transfer from the head office (treasury) when they are short of money in a bid to disburse to their customers. But this time they have not been able to get much money they requested due to shortage of cash at the treasury.
Especially the daily disbursement they allow for their regular customers will sometimes not go beyond 10 thousand birr. They have thus been forced to entertain complaints from many of their respective customers. According to the act of the National Bank of Ethiopia, a customer has the right to withdraw cash up to 50 thousand birr per day.
Wazema said that the lack of cash that has been witnessed for months is currently seriously challenging private banks. The problem, which was initially severe in the banks with less capacity, has now affected the senior private commercial banks.
One of the private banks affected by the problem indicated that following the decision made to collect fuel payments through Tele Birr, it has lost millions of cash income it used to receive from fuel distributors on a daily basis.
Information obtained from private banks indicates that many of their bank customers have diverted their money deposits to the state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia for the private banks failed to allow the withdrawal of the needed amount of cash for customers.
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has not yet faced a shortage of cash and is collecting better than before. The bank has become the only finance institute in the sector where customers can withdraw unlimited cash when they need it, subject to the ceiling set by the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE).
Wazema asked the deputy governor of NBE about how the bank’s regulatory body would deal with the lack of cash that the private banks are complaining about.
The deputy governor, Fikadu Degifie said, “My information is that there is no shortage of cash (liquidity) at the level the banks are stating.
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