Godwin Emefiele assures CBN will provide sufficient cash for INEC’s election expenses amid scarcity

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has assured that the apex Bank would not allow itself to be used or to be seen as an agent to frustrate the forthcoming polls.

Emefiele assured that the apex bank would provide the the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the needed naira notes as required.

The CBN governor gave the assurance on Tuesday in Abuja when he hosted the delegation from INEC led by its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

Emefiele said the relationship between the CBN and INEC started before he became the governor, saying the relationship borders purely on trust and confidence.

He said the apex bank appreciated the fact that INEC supported by the Nigerian populace had the trust and confidence in the ability of the CBN in playing the roles that it had played for you so far to ensure that elections hold without any hitches.

Emefiele stressed that before now, CBN had been involved in the storage of INEC election materials, which involved using of its armoured bullion van in transporting electoral materials.

His words: “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.

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“I know that just a few months ago, I visited your office and 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.

“I stand here to confirm that as at today, all Dollars 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 logistics for people who are going to be transporting election materials, certainly, the assurance I give to you is that because we regard 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.

“So I stand here to give you that commitment. You have been responsible in the past anyway, It’s not just about cash, you’ve done electronic payments before and if in this case after making your electronic payments, you require some money to pay transporters in cash, the assurance I give to you is that we will make it available, so it’s nothing to worry about.

“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 assured.

Earlier, INEC Chairman said the commission was encouraged by the continuing willingness of the apex bank to support its determination to deliver credible elections on 25th February 2023 and 11th March 2023, particularly the facilitation of activities necessary for the success of the elections in an area where the CBN has exclusive responsibility.

The chairman said the Nigerian election is a huge and complex undertaking which requires the engagement of critical services.

Yakubu explained that In line with the provisions of extant laws and regulations, service providers are generally paid by means of electronic transfer to their accounts.

He said, however, there re 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.

The chairman stressed that emergency situations might arise requiring immediate cash payments, adding that some of the critical service providers are unbanked.

Yakubu noted that over the years, the commission has worked with the CBN and commercial banks to pay for such services seamlessly during general election, as well as off-cycle and bye-elections.

He said 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.

The chairman said: “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. We 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.”

While at the office of the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, Yakubu said security was a critical moment for the 2023 general election with just 16 days to go.

The chairman said: “We want to welcome the assurances from the National security adviser, the Chief of Defence, the Inspector general of police and (other) security agencies.

“We are aware that additional security has been deployed to our facilities nationwide. We also note the increasing tempo of activities in many troubled spots nationwide. We are confident that these actions will further reassure voters, our personnel, service providers, stakeholders of their safety during elections and free, fair and peaceful process. We look forward to a comprehensive plan for the deployment of security personnel.”

Responding, Monguno assured that the security agencies are on ground.

He said all the security agencies are up to the task, while assuring that Nigerians would exercise their franchise in a peaceful atmosphere.

He stated: “We know what we have done. We are sure of what we have on ground. All of us here who are the managers of security in the electoral process know what we’re doing.

“We are not in any way in doubt but we need to let the entire country know that agents of bad news peddling all kinds of stories around, we see these on social media. If these are intended to scare people, I want to dispel such illusions.

“Everybody that is concerned in carrying out his legitimate undertaking, casting his or her vote will do so in a secured atmosphere. It’s very important that Nigerians are not pushed to the limit where they will abandon their number one responsibility as citizens. All security agencies are up to the task.”

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