The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says naira re-design won’t affect the 2023 general election, as it will provide required cash and other supports needed for smooth conduct of the poll.
Prof. Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, said this when he received Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and his management team in Abuja on Tuesday.
Emefiele said that the CBN had always been supportive to INEC in whatever way possible to ensure that it delivered on its mandate of ensuring hitch-free elections.
“Before now, we have been involved in the storage of INEC election materials and his involved using our armoured bullion vans to transport election materials.
“We are happy that in the course of this relationship, we have not disappointed you and that is the reason you have come 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 know that just a few months ago, I visited your office.
“You raised the issue of how foreign exchange can be procured to 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,” he said.
Emefiele added that CBN would provided all needed support to INEC to ensure credible general election.
“I stand here to confirm that as at today, all foreign exchange needed to import those items has been provided and those items have been imported. So, it’s all part of our commitment.
“Now this issue of paying logistics for people who are going to be transporting election materials to wards, certainly I give it to you that because we regarded the INEC project as an urgent national assignment, it cannot fail.
“The CBN will not allow itself either to be used or to be seen as an agent that frustrated positive outcome of the election.
“So I give you the commitment that if in this case, after making your electronic payment you require some money to pay transporters, in this case cash, I give to you is that we will make it available,” Emefiele said.
Earlier, Yakubu said that the visit was to seek for the CBN support toward a hitch-free 2023 general election, especially with the recent naira re-design policy which placed restrictions on cash withdrawal.
He said that Nigerian election was huge and complex undertaken that required engagement of critical services.
“In line with the provisions of extant laws and regulations, service providers are generally paid by means of electronic transfer to their 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-election,” he said.
Yakubu added: “Over the years, the Commission has also migrated all its accounts at National and State levels 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, 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.”
He said that INEC was determined to make the 2023 General Election one of the best in Nigeria, adding However, that the commission can’t 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.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Yakubu also led the INEC management to a meeting with the National Security Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno shortly after.