The newly launched e-Naira adds “no spectacular value” to the economy.
It is cosmetic, “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?”
Lead Director of Centre for Social Justice, CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, faulted the launch of e-Naira with those points.
He recalled that 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.
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.”
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.