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E-Naira adds no value to Nigeria’s economy – Expert faults FG

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Following the launch of the much anticipated digital currency, e-Naira, which is the first of its kind in Africa, as social justice expert has raised concerns.

President Muhammadu Buhari had launched the e-Naira 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 Muhammadu 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. Also Read This: There has been a lot of differences in Nigeria – President Buhari

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The digital currency has the capacity to ensure economic growth through better economic activities, increase remittances, improve financial inclusion and make monetary policy more effective.

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

In a chat with KOGI STATE NEWS, Onyekpere lamented that the newly launched e-Naira adds “no spectacular value” to the economy.

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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. Also Read This: 2023 Presidency : Why northeast deserves to produce next president – Gimba

So, whether it’s e-money or x-money, it doesn’t offer much value; it’s just a different version of the money that’s available.

“For me, it’s not about whether we have the capacity or not; we do; but it’s more of a cosmetic issue; what value does it offer to the economy?”

“I have yet to see any significant value; will it produce work for the teeming youths?” Is it going to return the Naira’s value? Is it going to bring inflation down? Or is it just one of those formalities that has nothing to do with the substance of the Nigerian economy’s challenge?”

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KOGI STATE NEWS observed that one of the major threats to the digital currency is fraud, and the Nigerian government launched the e-Naira at a time when the country is witnessing an escalation in advanced fee fraud popularly called Yahoo Yahoo.

Some Nigerian youths have taken to Yahoo Yahoo as a shorter route to economic empowerment, which is a direct result of the government’s inadequacies to provide jobs and ensure improvement in the quality of lives.

Recall that a Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi and his cronies had used financial platforms like Bitcoin to hide some of the loots they acquired from Yahoo Yahoo.

On the other hand, Onyekpere recommended the CBN and security authorities to take proactive measures to protect the digital currency from scammers.

He remarked, “Everything that has an advantage must have a disadvantage.” Security measures should be put in place by the CBN, security agencies, and the financial intelligence unit, all of whom should try to prevent such, which is why we pay them. E-money does not always imply fraud, and as some people are attempting to do, security measures should be put in place by the CBN, security agencies, and the financial intelligence unit, all of whom should try to prevent such, which is why we pay them.

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“The possibility of e-money fraud should not discourage us from using it.” “I believe we should make every effort to eradicate any negative tendencies.” Also Read This: Osinbajo has not ruled out running for the 2023 presidency- Group

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

 


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