Financial expert has described the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s), eNaira as cosmetic with no value to the economy.
BUSINESSinsiderng reports that President Muhammadu Buhari launched the much anticipated digital currency, e-Naira, which is the first of its kind in Africa on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and its underlying technology, called blockchain, has the ability to improve Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, by $29 billion over the next 10 years, President Buhari had said.
E-Naira, according to Buhari would enable the government send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific welfare programmes as well as foster cross border trade.
Speaking on the issue, the Lead Director of Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Eze Onyekpere, faulted the launch of e-Naira.
Onyekpere, a lawyer with specialization in development law including electricity reforms, fiscal governance, human rights and constitutional reforms lamented that the newly launched e-Naira adds “no spectacular value” to the economy.
Describing the latest action of the government as “cosmetic,” the CSJ Lead Director wondered what value the digital currency would add to the economy.
He said, “I think the important thing right now is what adds value to the economy in terms of job creation, stabilizing our currency, economic growth, and reducing the run on the Naira.
“So all these, be it e-money or x-money, is not adding any spectacular value; it’s just a different format of the money available.
“For me, it’s not about having the capacity or not, of course we have it; but it’s a little bit cosmetic; what value is it adding to the economy?
“I’m yet to see any major value, is it going to create jobs for the teeming youths? Is it going to return the value of the Naira? Is it going to reduce inflation? Or it’s just one of those formal things that doesn’t hold the substance of the challenge of the Nigerian economy?”
However, Onyekpere urged the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and security agents to be proactive in protecting the digital currency from fraudsters.
He said, “Everything that has an advantage must have a disadvantage. E-money does not necessarily means fraud, and as some people are planning it; there should be security measures to put in place by CBN, security agencies, and financial intelligent unit, who should work towards curtailing such, that is why we pay them.
“That people can commit fraud should not be a reason why we should not operate e-money. I think we should work towards curtailing any negative tendencies.”