President Muhammadu Buhari says the adoption of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and its underlying technology, called blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s GDP by $29billion over the next 10 years.
The President said this Monday in Abuja at the official launch of the e-Naira.
President said the introduction of the e-Naira would enable the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific welfare programmes as well as foster cross border trade.
He said that alongside digital innovations, CBDCs can foster economic growth through better economic activities, increase remittances, improve financial inclusion and make monetary policy more effective.
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“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 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,”
The President said, with the launch of e-Naira, Nigeria has become the first country in Africa, and one of the first in the world to introduce a Digital Currency to her citizens.
He commended the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, his deputies and the entire team of staff who worked tirelessly to make the launch of Africa’s first digital currency a reality.
In his remarks, the CBN Governor said e-Naira is Nigeria’s CBDC and it is the digital equivalent of the physical Naira.
”As the tagline simply encapsulates, the e-Naira is the same Naira with far more possibilities.
“The e-Naira – like the physical Naira – is a legal tender in Nigeria and a liability of the CBN. The e-Naira and Naira will have the same value and will always be exchanged at 1 naira to 1 e-Naira,” he said.
Emefiele added that the CBN had given careful consideration to the entire payments and financial architecture and has designed the e-Naira to complement and strengthen these ecosystems and has implemented security safeguards and policies to maintain the integrity of the financial system.
He pledged that there would be strict adherence to the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) standards in order to preserve the integrity and stability of Nigeria’s payment system.
According to Emefiele, since the e-Naira platform went live, there had been overwhelming interest and encouraging response from Nigerians and other parties across the world with over 2.5 million daily visits to the website.
He listed the following milestones: ”33 banks are fully integrated and live on the platform, 500 million has been successfully minted by the Bank, N200 million has been issued to financial institutions, over 2,000 customers have been enrolled and over 120 merchants have successfully registered on the e-Naira platform”.