Abuja – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as Nigerians that the apex bank would not do anything inimical to the success of the 2023 general elections.
The CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, gave the assurance on Tuesday when he hosted the INEC management led by its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the CBN headquarters in Abuja.
Yakubu who spoke earlier told the CBN governor of the impact of the naira redesign policy on the successful conduct of the elections.
The INEC boss, therefore, requested concessions regarding the naira redesign policy with specific reference to the limitations placed on cash withdrawals and the need to make some cash available for some peculiarities that cannot be met with electronic transfer of monies.
According to him, some of the service providers, especially transporters are required to be paid in cash and aside from that, experience has shown that emergencies do arise on election day, which could demand the use of cash by the commission.
“I am encouraged by the continued willingness of the apex bank to support the commission’s determination to deliver credible elections on February 25 and March 11, 2023. Particularly, the facilitation of activities necessary for the success of the election, in an area where the CBN has exclusive responsibility.
“Nigerian election is a huge and complex undertaking that requires the engagement of critical services and in line with the provisions of the extant laws and regulations, service providers are generally paid by means of electronic transfer to the accounts.
“However, there are equally critical areas, such as transportation and human support services that have to be immediately remunerated, either partially or in full before services are rendered.
“In addition, emergency situations may arise requiring immediate cash payments. Some of the critical service providers are unbanked. Over the years we have worked with the CBN and commercial banks to pay for such services seamlessly during general elections, as well as off-cycle and bye-elections.
“Over the years, the commission has also migrated all its accounts at the national and state level to the CBN. And this arrangement has worked without encumbrances to our activities. In view of the recent policy, involving the redesign of some denominations of our national currency and the limits placed on cash withdrawals and availability. We consider this meeting important in addressing some of the areas of concern with just 17 days to the 2023 general election.
“We are confident that arising from this meeting, we can assuage the anxiety expressed by some of our service providers who are determined to make the 2023 general election one of the best-organised elections in Nigeria, but we cannot do it alone. That is why the commission is mobilising every critical national institution for the success of the election. This meeting is part of this effort,” Yakubu said.
Responding, Emefiele said he would ensure the CBN is not seen as an agent to thwart the forthcoming general election, assuring that the apex bank would provide INEC needed naira notes as required.
“The relationship between the CBN dates back to even before I became the governor and that relationship, I will say, borders purely on trust and confidence.
“We also appreciate and truly do appreciate the fact that the INEC supported by the Nigerian populace has the trust and confidence in the ability of the central bank in playing the roles that we have played for you so far to ensure that our elections hold without any hitches. Before now, we’ve been involved in the storage of INEC election materials and involved using our armoured bullion van in transporting electoral materials.
“I know that just a few months ago, I visited your office and you raised the issue of how foreign exchange can be procured for you to import Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other forms of election material that need to be imported and I gave you my word that foreign exchange will be provided for that purpose. I stand here to confirm that as of today, all dollars that are needed to import those items have been provided and those items have been imported.
“So, it’s all part of our commitment. Now this issue of pain and logistics for people who are going to be transporting election materials, certainly, the assurance I give to you is that because we regard the INEC project as a topmost or an urgent national assignment, and therefore, it cannot fail and the central bank would not allow itself either to be used or to be seen as an agent that frustrated a positive outcome of that election.”
President meets Tambuwal, Bagudu, CBN gov, others at Aso Rock
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday held a closed-door meeting with the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State as well as the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Governor Atiku Bagudu Abubakar of Kebbi State at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa.
Last Friday, the president had implored citizens to give him a seven-day window, which lapsed on February 10 to resolve the currency crunch that had emanated from the implementation of the Central Bank policy to change high-value naira notes with newly designed ones after a meeting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors.
Buhari had equally assured that he would be meeting with both the CBN and the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company and a decision would be taken based on current realities in the best interest of the people.
The governors of the ruling party had asked that the president direct an adequate injection of the new notes and the continued utilisation of the old ones until the end of the year. (Daily Trust)
Leave a Reply