The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the whole world – the eventual fate of everything and the universe of work. However, the most apparent impact of this disturbance is felt in the financial services sector, the business sectors, and the worldwide economy. In such a manner, the financial segment is one of the most gravely affected. It is helpful to mirror a little on the degree in Nigeria and the significance of the multi-dimensional ramifications. Ideally, sometime in the future, somebody will assume the errand of breaking down in more prominent detail, bank-client relations, and the job of the banks in the hour of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. I try to give a primer sketch, hurl a couple of frauds, and mention some objective facts.
On March 29, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari reported the inconvenience of an underlying fourteen-day lockdown on Lagos, Ogun States, and the Federal Capital Territory. The three parts of the nation that had then introduced a higher COVID-19 zero-pervasiveness. He absolved healthcare workers, pharmaceutical organizations, security staff, the nation’s food supply chain, oil organization workers, the media, and other fundamental specialists. His discourse made no notice of the banks.
This oversight was tended to the next day, March 30, by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Governor of the Central Bank. They further informed the public that Nigerian banks/money markets would likewise be relied upon to offer basic types of assistance during the time of the lockdown. Clearly, during the time of the lockdown, Nigerians would require cash either as far as access to money, or the fulfillment of payments, savings, transfers, and pending transactions. In April, the Federal Government further expanded the lock-somewhere around an additional fourteen days but then by one more week, towards the month’s end. As it turned out, different conditions of the Federation depending on Section 8 of the Quarantine Act and empowering state laws likewise implemented their forms of the lockdown. Adequately, Nigeria turned out to be a piece of the worldwide reaction to COVID-19. Individuals were asked to remain at home, stay safe, follow the rules, and avoid the danger of contamination and transmission.
Everything occurred suddenly and out of the blue. No one was expecting or prepared for it. There were reports of harvests of death in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Panic ruled as fear gripped the world. Individuals posed the unavoidable inquiry: will humanity endure given the destructiveness of the virus? As individuals remained at home and off the roads, they despite everything expected to survive. No one had withdrawn money or saved towards COVID-19. The significance of access to the banks and funds was writ enormous; acquiring an income turned into an incomprehensibly important issue for family units and organizations. The world subsequently wound up in a pre-memorable Darwinian circumstance where just the fittest endure. The banks in Nigeria were not of much assistance. Their rating as far as client support/relations fell.
The banks would not open their doors to customers. Not many that claimed to do as such in Lagos offered just skeletal types of assistance. Individuals were encouraged to make withdrawals utilizing Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Yet, a large portion of these machines had no money, and where they had, long lines could be seen day by day, without anybody watching the social distancing rules. Digital banking transactions, which had been promoted as a better approach for the world, proved to be complicated. On the chance that you went to an open branch, you would be kept waiting on a long queue by the banks’ security man who knows nothing about banking. Many account officers who took care of the middle/working class were additionally under quarantine. Their telephones were turned off. A significant pillar of the financial business – satisfying the customer collapsed. The bankers paid attention to their survival more. “The customer is king” was no longer a valid statement in this situation! COVID 19 is the incredible destroyer of every single known standard. It has moved rules and turned the table against every single recognized standard.
When on one event, I had cause to vent, I was informed that the banks were additionally being cautious. They expected to secure their staff. They would not permit clients to bring the infection into their financial corridors. They had additionally recorded many instances of extortion during the lockdown. In light of their excuse, does that justify the shortage of money at cash points and the epileptic e-banking platforms? It will be reviewed that the Central Bank of Nigeria presented a Financial Inclusion Strategy in 2016, the goal of which was to advance electronic banking and versatile cash exchanges. This prompted the expanding digitization of banking exchanges in the nation and the development of such highlights as the utilization of POS, e-banking, and payment administration operators. At the same time, this has been hailed as a dynamic turn of events. Nigeria stays a long way behind different nations like South Africa and Kenya, where a higher pace of financial inclusion has been recorded. The COVID-19 lockdown uncovered Nigeria’s moderate infiltration rate in such manner, and undoubtedly in actuality, Nigeria stays under-banked; its banking practices are as yet a long way behind.
For some resource workers whose survival relied upon day by day work, the banking circumstance was more terrible because these blue-collar workers live or endure comparatively with their day by day hustle. Whatever work that connected them to the value-added financial chain was cut off. Nigerians in Diaspora whose money related settlements establish a significant wellspring of oxygen for nearby family units and the economy additionally ran into upset waters. In each sense, Nigeria’s budgetary sector confronted an extreme respiratory emergency with relating suggestions for financial development and social dependability. It didn’t take some time before Nigerians, particularly the young, got unsettled. A social crisis posed a potential threat in the skyline. In Lagos and Ogun States, neighborhoods were assaulted by the individuals who called themselves “One Million Boys”. The rich got scared of their shadows. Nigerian banks needed to take additional safety efforts. Organized labor and the Organized Private Sector started to push the contention that the lockdown would not work in Africa and that it was better the government opened the business space.
On April 27, it might be said that the Federal Government surrendered to pressure when in an across the nation communicate, President Muhammadu Buhari reported a “staged and gradual” maneuvering of the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Ogun and the Lagos States, with similar guidance for different pieces of the Federation subject to their particular conditions as to COVID-19. The reactions differed. Ogun State decided to concede its unwinding of the lock-somewhere around seven days, having joined seven days after the fact than the FCT and Lagos State. On May 17, the state declared at this point a further expansion of the lockdown. Different conditions of the Federation again submitted their general direction to the Federal Government at the appointed time.
Delta, Ebonyi, Katsina, and Borno states have since permitted churches, mosques and holy places to re-open. Kaduna state and others have likewise reported loosened up measures. Across the country, a curfew stays set up from 8 pm to 6 am. Between state travel has been prohibited, regardless of whether there are worries about the development of the Almajirai across state fringes with a large number of them testing positive for COVID-19. Even with new rules, banks additionally opened their doors.
Be that as it may, and, after it’s all said and done, bank customers are unhappy, especially in the Federal Capital Territory and Lagos. From May 4 to date, the premises of almost all banks have been a combat area. Customers storm the banks day by day, without thinking about either physical or social distancing rules. They sit outside, or they line up in a long, twisted, stretch. The individuals appear to be resolved to pass on, if conceivable, to access their bank accounts. The queues are long, the franticness is obvious. A couple of banks have since given tents and seats in front of their branches. Those lines may not vanish except if the banks open up more offices and give better consideration to customer care.