The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it will not suffer cash scarcity during elections.
Godwin Emefiele, governor of the apex bank, gave the assurance when Professor Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, visited CBN headquarters on Tuesday.
Nigerians have been finding it difficult to access the naira as a result of the redesign policy of the CBN.
The electoral commission had earlier listed fuel and naira scarcity as factors that may affect the elections.
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During Tuesday’s meeting, the INEC Chairman restated the fears of the commission about the scarcity.
“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.”
In his response, Emefiele said, “We 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. Before now, we’ve been involved in the storage of INEC election materials and involved using our armoured bullion van in transporting electoral materials.
“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 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 that is 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 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.”