President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said the Central Bank Digital Currency, eNaira, can increase Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product by $29bn within the next 10 years.
Buhari said this on Monday in Abuja during the official launch of the eNaira.
He said the currency will help move many more people and businesses from the informal into the formal sector, thereby increasing the country’s tax base.
He called on the CBN to ensure close monitoring and close supervision of the initiative in the early stages of implementation to study the effect on the economy as a whole.
The President said his decision to approve the eNaira was underpinned by the fact that the CBN has been a leading innovator in the form of money it produces, and in the payment services it deployed for efficient transactions.
He said the apex bank has also invested heavily in creating a payment system that is ranked in the top ten in the world and certainly the best in Africa.
This payment system, he noted, now provides high‐value and time‐critical payment services to financial institutions, and ultimately serves as the backbone for every electronic payment in Nigeria.
Buhari said while the journey to create a digital currency for Nigeria began sometime in 2017, work intensified over the past several months with several brainstorming exercises, deployment of technical partners and advisers, collaboration with the Ministries of Communication and Digital Economy and its sister agencies like the Nigerian Communications Commission, integration of banking software across the country.
He said, “Let me note that aside from the global trend to create Digital Currencies, we believe that there are Nigeria-specific benefits that cut across different sectors of, and concerns of the economy.
“The use of CBDCs can help move many more people and businesses from the informal into the formal sector, thereby increasing the tax base of the country.
“Alongside digital innovations, CBDCs can foster economic growth through better economic activities. Indeed, some estimates indicate that the adoption of CBDC and its underlying technology, called blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s GDP by $29bn over the next 10 years.
“CBDCs can also help increase remittances, foster cross border trade, improve financial inclusion, make Monetary Policy more effective, and enable the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific welfare programmes.”
He said by launching the CBN eNaira, Nigeria has become the first country in Africa, and one of the first in the world to introduce a Digital Currency to its citizens.