Weeks after the launch of the Nigerian eNaira, citizens in that country are still not buying into the government’s latest development. Many of them say they still do not understand how it operates. They also do not know why the country needs a digital currency in the first place.
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, launched the digital currency on 25 October 2021. The eNaira Speed Wallet was also launched to facilitate transactions and holding of the eNaira. However, it was temporarily removed from the Google Play store after thousands of people had downloaded it. Authorities cited a system glitch that made it impossible to handle the huge amount of traffic on the download site. This issue led to some concerns being raised by those who were keen to use the digital currency.
However, the latest concerns about Nigerians asking if they needed the eNaira in the first place are not to be ignored. These concerns take away confidence from what the government thought was a breakthrough achievement.
Nigeria joined a few other countries around the world that have already approved the use of digital currencies and is the first in Africa to do so.
Critics of such moves by governments say that their approach is not informed by promoting growth, but they intend to control the digital currency space, ensuring that everything happens through the central bank. Nigeria had already restricted the use of cryptocurrencies earlier in 2021 and promised to offer safer options for its citizens.
Nevertheless, whether the option is safe or not, it is for the citizens to judge. It will depend on how confident they are about the eNaira and the ability of their government to deliver on their promise. The Nigerian government hopes that their digital currency, issued at par with the Naira, will boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by USD29 billion within the next 10 years.