Worried by logistics concerns and the 2023 elections, Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu paid a working visit to the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mr Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday. He expressed concerns that the new monetary directives especially the withdrawal limitation policy, if not properly managed may affect the
Worried by logistics concerns and the 2023 elections, Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu paid a working visit to the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mr Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday. He expressed concerns that the new monetary directives especially the withdrawal limitation policy, if not properly managed may affect the coming polls, given its timing.
The new Naira policy has divided the political class with some in support and others against. It has also led to different protests across Nigeria with some of them becoming very violent leading to arson. A group of political parties have gone to court to prevent President Buhari and the CBN Governor from extending the deadline for the withdrawal of the old Naira notes. The new policy has also heralded a scarcity of the new Naira notes.
There is anxiety by INEC that given the complexity of the elections in Nigeria some of the logistics activities like transportation, human supports amongst others may require heavy cash transactions which may be impaired by the CBN policy.
Professor Mahmoud said that the electoral commission needs to work with banks across the country as it has always done in the past and wants the CBN to assist the Commission find means to assuage the anxiety as it affects some of the electoral commission’s service providers.
“The Nigerian election is a huge and complex one. It requires the engagement of critical services and in line with the provisions of the exchange laws and regulations, service providers are generally paid by means of electronic transfer to their accounts. However, there are crucial areas such as transportation and human support services that have to be immediately enumerated either partially or in full because services are rendered.
“In addition, emergency situations may arise that require immediate cash payments. Over the years, we have worked with the CBN, commercial banks to pay for such services seamlessly during general elections, off-cycle and bye-elections. Over the years, the Commission has migrated all its accounts at national and state levels to CBN and this arrangement has worked without hindrances to our activities.
“In view of the recent policy involving the redesigning of some denominations of our currencies and the limit on cash withdrawals and availability, we consider this meeting important in addressing some of our areas of concern with just 17 days to the 2023 general election. We are confident that an aspect of this meeting will reduce the anxiety expressed by some of our service providers. We are determined to make the 2023 general election one of the best elections in Nigeria but we cannot do it alone”, the INEC chairman noted.
Responding to the INEC chairman, the CBN governor Godwin Emefiele assured the electoral umpire of support to conduct a successful election. He noted that the apex bank will provide assistance to INEC with electronic and cash to its partners during the elections.
“Because we regard the INEC project as the topmost or an urgent National assignment, it cannot fail and the CBN would not allow itself either to be used or seen as an agent that frustrated a positive outcome of that election. We are committed to support INEC in the area of electronic means of payment and cash to pay some service providers during the elections”, Emiefele said.