Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had said that when effectively operated, a cashless policy in Nigeria, will help stop the surge of illicit election financing by making it possible to track funds.
This was disclosed by Osinbajo earlier on Monday, January 30, 2023, at the Presidential Villa, when he received a delegation of the European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission led by Barry Andrews, the Chief Observer, who is also a member of the European Parliament.
More infrastructure should be provided for a cashless policy
- Osinbajo said, “I think that we should be looking at providing more infrastructure. The cashless thing has been really advantageous and helps with tracking. That sort of infrastructure is useful for more financial inclusion and the more financial inclusion you have, the easier it is to track.”
- He added, “So much money can be spent without it being tracked,” under the current election financing practices in the country.’’
While noting the serious difficulty in controlling election financing because of cash transactions, the vice president stated that there are still infrastructure issues required to be in place to ensure an efficient cashless system in the country.
- Osinbajo noted, “With cash transactions, it is still difficult to seriously control election financing.’’
Electoral offences to be dealt with
Speaking on the issue of electoral offences, Professor Osinbajo pointed out that there is the Electoral Offences Commission Bill at the National Assembly.
- He said, “We hope that it will begin a new regime of dealing with electoral offences which would be helpful.
- Going further he said, “By and large, one shouldn’t expect INEC to be the investigator of electoral offences. I think that law enforcement agencies should be responsible for arresting and prosecuting offenders, State by State.
- “Electoral offences are always seen through a political prism; people will always feel that they are being prosecuted because they belong to a certain party.
- “What is more important is that we have to find a system where the police could have a special unit for offences during the course of elections. The Federal High Courts could also have a special jurisdiction to deal with offences and not extend beyond the Federal High Courts.”
For catch up
- Recall that on December 6, 2022, the CBN in a new circular placed limits on over-the-counter cash withdrawals, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawals, and point of sale (PoS) withdrawals.
- The apex bank in a memo directed all banks and other financial institutions to ensure that over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100,000 and N500, 000, respectively, per week.
- After the policy takes effect, all cash withdrawals above the stated limits will attract processing fees of 5% and 10%, respectively.
- However, following several criticisms of the policy, the CBN on December 21, 2022, reviewed its policy on cash withdrawal limits, increasing weekly withdrawals for individuals and corporate organisations to N500, 000 and N5 million, respectively.
- It is widely believed that the cashless policy is targeted at corrupt elements within society and politicians who have stacked away vast sums of money for electoral purposes.