The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it will not do anything inimical to the success of the 2023 general elections.
CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, gave the assurance when he hosted the INEC management led by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the commission.
Yakubu who spoke earlier told the CBN governor of the impact the naira redesign policy to 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 electronics transfer of monies.
According to him, some of the service providers, especially transporters are required to be paid in cash and that aside from that, experience has shown that emergency situations 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 national and state level to the CBN. And this arrangement has worked without encumbrances to our activities. In view of the recent policy, involving in 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 use to thwart the forthcoming general election,
“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 the INEC supported by the Nigerian populace have 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.
“We are happy that in the course of this relationship, we have not disappointed you and that is the reason you have called me again this time. Now, just aside from the issue of storage of election materials together with transportation of election materials from CBN locations to your own specific or designated locations.
“I will make sure that I do not allow ourselves as central bank to be seen as an agent that frustrated positive outcome of the elections,” Emefiele said.