President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday the adoption of the digital currency, eNaira would increase Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $29 billion over the next 10 years.
The President, who stated this during the unveiling of the eNaira at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said with the introduction of the asset, Nigeria had become the first country in Africa to introduce a digital currency to its citizens.
He said there were benefits of the digital currency that cut across different sectors of the economy.
Buhari said: “In recent times, the use of physical cash in conducting business and making payments has been on the decline; this trend has been exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence of a new Digital Economy.
“Alongside these developments, businesses, households, and other economic agents have sought for new means of making payments in the new circumstances.
“The absence of a swift and effective solution to these requirements, as well as fears that central banks’ actions sometimes lead to hyperinflation created the space for non-government entities to establish new forms of private currencies that seemed to have gained popularity and acceptance across the world, including here in Nigeria.
“In response to these developments, an overwhelming majority of central banks across the world have started to consider issuing digital currencies in order to cater for businesses and households seeking faster, safer, easier and cheaper means of payments.’’
According to the President, a handful of countries including China, Bahamas, and Cambodia have already issued their own Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).
Buhari said a 2021 survey of central banks around the world by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) found that almost 90 percent were actively researching the potential for CBDCs.
The President added: “Needless to add, close monitoring and close supervision will be necessary in the early stages of implementation to study the effect of eNaira on the economy as a whole.
“It is on the basis of this that the CBN sought and received my approval to explore issuing Nigeria’s own CBDC, named the eNaira.
“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.
“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 $29 billion over the next 10 years.’’
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