With about 16 days to the general election, there are strong indications that the new naira notes scarcity may disrupt the exercise.
In a meeting with the governor of the central bank, Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, said this.
In his explanation, he noted that many of INEC’s service suppliers lacked bank accounts.
To solve the issue with the CBN cash withdrawal policy, which had wreaked havoc across the nation, he, therefore, asked for the apex bank’s cooperation.
The apex bank had last year pegged weekly cash withdrawal limits set for individuals and corporate organisations to N500,000 and N5 million, respectively.
It also introduced the currency redesign policy which involves the issuance of new N1000, N500 and N200 notes last December.
But explaining his concern to the CBN chief, Yakubu said the service providers needed to be paid fully or partly, adding that there were fears about the withdrawal limits.
He said, “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 requiring immediate cash payments. Some of the critical service providers are unbanked. Over the years we have worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks to pay for such services seamlessly during general elections, as well as off-cycle and by-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 elections.
‘’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. That is why the commission is mobilising every critical national institution for the success of the election.”