Home Nigeria Expert to FG: e-Naira not Valuable to Nigeria’s Economy

Expert to FG: e-Naira not Valuable to Nigeria’s Economy

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Nigeria's Economy
Nigeria’s Economy

By Uche Amunike

 

After the launch of the much expected digital currency in naira by President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, social justice experts have raised concerns about it.

 

According to President Buhari, the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and its underlying technology, which is called ‘blockchain’ has the power to improve Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $29 billion dollars over the next 10 years.

 

He explained that the e-naira will enable the government send direct payments to citizens that are qualified for specific welfare programmes and also, foster cross-border trade.

 

He also added that the digital currency can ensure economic growth through better economic activities, increase remittances, make monetary policy more effective and also improve financial inclusion.

 

However the Lead Director of Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Eze Onyekpere, while speaking on the issue, faulted the launch of the e-Naira.

 

He was of the opinion that the newly launched e-Naira adds what he called  ‘no spectacular value’ to the Nigerian economy.

 

He went on to describe the recently launched by the government as e-Naira as  ‘cosmetic’ and wondered what value the digital currency would add to the economy.

 

He maintained that the best way to add value to the economy was through job creation, economic growth, stabilizing our currency and reducing the run on the naira.

 

He posited that having capacity or not, e-money merely served as a different format of the available money, stating that there was no way it was going to create jobs for the teeming youths in Nigeria which means it added no major value at all.

 

He questioned if it was going to return the value of the naira or reduce inflation, or if it was just one of those formal things that didn’t hold the substance of the challenge of the Nigerian economy.

 

One of the threats to the digital currency is fraud and the launch of the e-naira is coming at a time when the country is going through a rise in advanced free fraud, popularly called Yahoo Yahoo.

 

Nigerian youths have taken to Yahoo Yahoo as a quick route to make money which is a direct result of the government’s inability to provide jobs for them and improve the quality of their lives.

 

Nigerian Instagram celebrity popularly known as Hushpuppi readily comes to mind, as people like him used different financial platforms to hide some of the loots their got from Yahoo Yahoo.

 

Onyekpere however urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and security agents to be proactive in protecting the digital currency from fraudsters.

 

He explained that everything that has an advantage, mostly has its disadvantages, adding that e-money  does not mean fraud, but there is a need for security measures to be put in place by the CBN, security agencies and financial intelligence unit, so as to work towards fighting such.

 

The fact that people commit fraud shouldn’t stop Nigeria from operating e-money but however, it is important to work towards curtailing any negative tendencies, he maintained.

 

Eze Onyekpere is a lawyer that specializes in development law, including electricity reforms, fiscal governance, human rights and constitutional reforms. He has worked on gender and trade policy, privatization, liberalization of education and electric power sector reforms.

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