Some Nigerians have identified greed, corruption and instability of the financial sector as reasons why people keep money at home. They spoke in separate interviews in a survey conducted by the NAN.
In South-West, a financial analyst, Mr Rotimi Agboluaje, bemoaned the trend, saying this had impacted negatively on the economy. Agboluaje cited illiteracy, lack of financial education and lack of confidence in the banking sector as reasons why many Nigerians keep money at home. He said that it would be difficult to manage the economy, especially the liquidity in the system, if the amount in circulation was not known. The analyst advocated public enlightenment, financial inclusiveness and strict enforcement of the extant laws. Prof Olajumoke Adeosun-Familoni of ICLED School of Business and Leadership, said that many keep money in their homes to ensure easy access while avoiding the stress of banking operations.
Adeosun-Familoni, a 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. In Abeokuta, Mrs 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. “There are two categories of people in Nigeria who keep money at home, prominent Nigerians and the uninformed people,’’ Sanni said. An Abeokuta-based economist, Mr 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’’. Adelani added that many keep money at home because they were not properly motivated and informed.
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. Dr Onafowokan Oluyombo, an Associate Professor in the Department of Accounting, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, said there could be no proper statistics of the nation’s money in circulation. He linked the current economic downturn in Nigeria to the poor saving habits of the citizenry. Oluyombo said that 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 said that it had negative effect because such huge funds were not being made functional, adding that “definitely it’s one of the contributions to poor health of our economic system.
“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 of funds in savings, they can easily plan, invest and lead a better life and the economy will then thrive again.’’ Dr Michael Oke, a senior lecturer in the Banking and Finance Department, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, also said those keeping money at home were mostly politicians hiding embezzled funds
He said many public officers, who had stolen public funds, need a safe haven for their loot which the conventional banks could not offer. “The essence of keeping money in banks is good because saving is a factor for investment and those in need of money in banks could access it through loan for investment,” Oke stated. John Ajisafe, a banker with the United Bank for Africa, however, 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. He explained that keeping of cash at home, especially foreign currencies, was the major cause of the current cash crunch, saying it is easier to move huge sums with foreign denominations.
An economist, Mr Tosin Yusuf, said many Nigerians have lost confidence in the banking system, arguing that this might be responsible for the current trend of keeping money at home. Yusuf called on the 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. But, Mrs Dorcas Wojuade, a banker, said customers have the right to either keep money in the bank or at their place of abode. She said that the statistics of currency in circulation had always been made available by the CBN.
In his view, Mr Thomas Simeon, a financial expert, said most people keep money at home to avoid complicated bank procedures and unexpected bank charges. Simeon said people also keep money at home to have a sense of security, adding that this would help them to monitor its use and the balance at hand. He said this sense of security might be understood, especially at a time when the global economy had witnessed bailout and collapses of banks. Prof. Gbolahan AbdulGafar, an economist at the University of llorin, said that those perpetrating the act were corrupt individuals determined to retard the growth of the economy. “Nigerians keeping money at homes do not have legitimate sources for the money and they are damaging our economy,” AbdulGafar said.