Press spotlights warning by Electoral body that Naira crisis may disrupt polls, others

The warning by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, during a meeting with the Central Bank…

The warning by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, during a meeting with the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele in Abuja, on Tuesday that there are strong indications that the new naira notes scarcity may disrupt the general elections dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.The Punch reports that with about 16 days to the general election, there are strong indications that the new naira notes scarcity may disrupt the exercise.

 The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, said this during a meeting with the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele at the CBN headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday.

He explained that many service providers to INEC had no bank accounts.

He, therefore, solicited the support of the apex bank to address the concern related to the CBN cash withdrawal policy which had caused chaos across the country.

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.

The CBN governor assured that cash would be made available for payment of the service providers and added that the apex bank would not allow itself to be used to frustrate the efforts of the electoral body.

Emefiele promised that the apex bank would do everything possible to support the 2023 election, stressing that it has never failed Nigerians.

The newspaper says that the Digital Cooperation Organisation, the international organisation to promote digital prosperity for all has called for an open collaboration among nations to bridge digital divide.

A statement said the organisation gave the ministerial declaration at its second general assembly in Riyadh.

The statement said the DCO ministerial call for action, which was issued on behalf of all 13 member states, recognised the crucial role that the digital economy played in shaping a more equitable and thriving future.

It called for increased international dialogue to identify and promote successful approaches, and impactful initiatives that would empower nations to create sustainable, inclusive and equitable growth of the digital economy.

The statement said the general assembly, which was the first full in-person gathering of the DCO, had delegations from the member states, DCO observer partners, and other international stakeholders in the digital economy.

The assembly was also attended by the Minister of State for Information and Communication Technology, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Zunaid Palak; and the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, State of Qatar, Mohammd Almanni, as guests of the DCO.

The DCO called for international cooperation to coordinate efforts and develop sustainable solutions that were specifically tailored to address four major concerns such as policies and regulations, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises digitalisation, digital skills and education, and digital transformation.

The Guardian reports that Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a suspension of the deadline for the swapping of old to new Naira notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Supreme Court issued an interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from suspending the acceptance of the old Naira notes on the Friday February 10, 2023 deadline.

Kaduna, Zamfara, and Kogi State have dragged the Federal Government to Supreme Court over the scarcity of old and new Naira notes due to the (CBN) naira redesign policy.

The state governments said they are worried by the effects the CBN naira redesign policy is having on the residents of their states.

Consequently, they are seeking a restraining order by the Supreme Court to compel the government and CBN from implementing the policy.

The states filed an ex-parte motion through their lawyer, AbdulHakeem Uthman Mustapha (SAN), and are urging the Supreme Court to grant them an interim injunction stopping the Federal Government either by itself or acting through the CBN, the commercial banks or its agents from carrying out its plan of ending the timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the Naira may no longer be legal tender on February 10, 2023.

“Unless this Honourable Court intervenes, the Government and people of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara State will continue to go through a lot of hardship and would ultimately suffer great loss as a result of the insufficient and unreasonable time within which the Federal Government is embarking on the ongoing currency redesign policy,” Mustapha said.

The states said there has been a shortage in the supply of the new naira notes in Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States and that citizens who have dutifully deposited their old naira notes have increasingly found it difficult and sometimes next to impossible to access new naira notes to go about their daily activities.

The states said the CBN policy is imposing a lot of hardship on Nigerians and insisted that the ten-day extension by the Federal Government is still insufficient to address the challenges of Nigerians swapping their old Naira notes for new ones.

The case has been adjourned to Wednesday, February 15, 2023.

The newspaper says that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has called on the public to report any substandard product to complement its efforts of eliminating fake goods in the country.

The Director-General of the SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, said this during an exhibition for MANCAP-certified products in Kano.

Salim said the essence of the exhibition was to create awareness among the public about products that improve well-being, adding that the effort is also to encourage the companies to do more and employ people to address unemployment in the country.

He said the call had become necessary following reports received by the organisation’s enforcement unit, adding that anyone involved in substandard products would be dealt with accordingly.

He revealed that SON has over the past 50 years, done a lot in promoting and protecting products consumed by Nigerians in ensuring products are produced up to the standard.

“Part of our primary duty is to ensure that Nigerians not only consume products that are up to standards, but also to be exporting goods that would be accepted across the globe.

The DG also said “One of the biggest achievements we have is the establishment of Halal institute in Kano. Halal institute consists of training, a regional centre and the laboratory which is the same as Lagos laboratory”.

The Director General said industries can enroll their employees in the centre to be trained on management training and in producing standard products.

He also tasked industries to reach out to the organisation when their products were being copied to enable the organization act against the criminals.

On his part, Kano state governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, said the state government was ready to partner with SON to support local industries coming up in the state.

Represented by the commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Ibrahim Mukhtar, the governor urged SON to train its staff on identifying substandard products.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, a Kano based rice processor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gerawa, thanked SON for organising the event.

“We are happy that SON is helping towards producing standard products. This is to our advantage because our products are now certified and can be exported everywhere in the world,” Alhaji Gerawa said.

He urged the Federal Government to sustain the fight against the smuggling of imported rice into the country.

The representative of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Jigawa Branch, Mr Ibrahim Kabiru commended SON’s efforts in repositioning of made in Nigeria products.

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