Political parties have sopken out over the new cash withdrawal limits introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Three political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, Africa Democratic Congress and Social Democratic Party have condemned the policy; while the New Nigerian Peoples Party, Labour Party and All Progressives Grand Alliance agreed with policy.
Those that expressed mixed reactions include ruling All Progressives Congress, African Action Alliance and Zenith Labour Party.
In its reaction, the PDP said the policy will affect campaign funding.
The party’s Director, Strategic Communications, National Election Management Committee, Chief Dele Momodu, in a statement on Sunday lamented that “if enforced, the policy will strangulate the political process, not the PDP alone.”
He said, “In 2014/2015, I am sure if (President) Buhari had no access to funding, he would never have been the President of Nigeria. There are people who are making contributions to the political parties and some parties have set up structures to receive support from people. How then will they be able to access the fund if they are saying you cannot withdraw more than N100, 000 a week?’’ he asked
“I read somewhere that the CBN said the policy would not be rigid but why make the policy in the first place if it is not going to be rigid?” he queried.
He said the new CBN policy would affect the poor, adding that the he PDP is worried about the poor market woman, the ordinary man on the street because we still run a cash-and-carry economy.
As for the ADC, the policy would be a challenge to the parties, according to it’s National Chairman, Chief Ralph Nwosu who added that the CBN did not carry out adequate sensitisation campaigns on it.
He said there was politics behind the policy, adding that paying the ADC agents in the rural areas might be a challenge.
‘’We have almost 200,000 agents that we must pay and 80 per cent of them live in rural areas. Is it that N2,000 or N5,000 that you pay them that you would transfer to each of them? How many of them have such a facility? So it’s completely inconsiderate of them.”
According to a faction of the SDP, the policy came too sudden.
It’s National Publicity Secretary, Alpha Muhammed asserted that ‘’definitely, cash has to move, people have to pay for logistics; you have to give cash to agents and those who will transport people to rallies. It will definitely affect the success of the election and the campaign itself.’’
Muhammed said should there be need, the party or candidate will write to the CBN for a waiver.
Other political parties that spoke on the policy were the All Progressives Congress, Zenith Labour Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Labour Party, New Nigeria Peoples Party, African Action Alliance.
The ZLP National Chairman Chief Dan Nwayanwu, expressed a mixed feelings over the policy, saying it would have negative impact on the poor people, adding that the lack of access to electronic platforms may trigger a crisis at the grassroots.
“These are people who are out every day in search of their daily bread. How many of them have access to electronic platforms to transact business? Even the Point of Sales; are they evenly distributed everywhere? This is the worry of the Zenith Labour Party.
He said ZLP is okay with the policy. “Let those who stashed billions of naira in tanks bring them out. They should have the courage to bring them out. It is good to note that over N500billin have been returned in the past two weeks. Maybe before the elections, trillions will be returned to the banks.’’
APGA National Chairman Chief Victor Oye, concurred that poor Nigerians would suffer from the policy if it eventually takes off, assuring however that such pain would not last.
He said “It is part of the process to make the transition to the new currency seamless. The pain and difficulty will ease out very soon.
Spokesperson of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, said the LP would buy any policy that would bring a positive change and oppose anti-people programmes.
He said the naira has appreciated since the new policy was announced, adding that his party would not support waivers for parties.
“This may be a ploy to stash money that could be used to buy votes during the polls.
However, the spokesman of the NNPP, Ladipo Johnson, differed, arguing that the CBN policy was aimed at taming inflation in the country.
He admitted that the policy could cause some inconveniences, but said it would not affect fundraising by parties.
He said donors could utilise online platforms to send cash to the parties of their choice.
Presidential candidate of the AAC, Omoyele Sowore said his party is not in any way worried by the cash limit withdrawal policy, stressing that it was targeted at poor citizens not powerful political figures and parties anyway,’’ he contended.
The Spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, refused to respond to question on the matters as far as campaign issues were
“For now, I decline to give any comment on that. We have not met formally to take a position on the issue,” he said.
But the South-South Agenda for Tinubu/Shettima Support Groups condemned the CBN policy in strong terms, describing it as a plot to pitch the poor masses against the President.
The National Coordinator of the group, Mr. Bitrus Oliver, in a statement said, “This policy will clearly undermine the efforts of the Federal Government in sustaining micro and small scale enterprises across the country as it will limit the fund in circulation due to the non-availability of cash and may totally asphyxiate small and struggling businesses before the policy is stabilised.’’
Oliver argued that in almost all the rural markets across the country, 90 per cent of transactions are done by cash and not by mobile transfer, noting that pegging ATM withdrawal to N20,000 would stall many transactions and may even trigger chaos in the commercial sector.