The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has debunked rumours that it is planning to withdraw naira notes from circulation and replace it with its digital currency, the eNaira, which was launched in October last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is even as stakeholders warned the apex to desist from such move.
Director, corporate communications department of the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, at the weekend, noted that, the statement purportedly to have been made during a stakeholders’ engagement on eNaira adoption in Asaba, Delta state was misconstrued and therefore called on the general public to disregard such in its entirety.
The eNaira is a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) that was rolled out to improve financial inclusion in the country as well as reduce the cost of transactions and boost security in the financial system.
According to Nwanisobi, the digital version of the Naira is meant to complement the existing currency notes and therefore, will circulate simultaneously as means of exchange and store of value.
On the benefits of adopting the eNaira, he stated that, the digital legal tender aside from the safety and speedy features, it will also ensure greater access to financial services by the underbanked and unbanked populace thereby enhance financial inclusion.
Nwanisobi therefore, urged members of the public and business owners to embrace the digital currency, the eNaira as it offers more possibilities.
Meanwhile, stakeholders have queried the decision of the government over planned removal of Naira notes from circulation.
They stated that, in civilised societies, physical money exists side by side with other forms of financial transactions.
Speaking in an interview with LEADERSHIP, the president, of National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees of Nigeria (NUBIFIE), Comrade Anthony Abakpa said, he wondered how such a policy could be brought out without enough preparation and enough awareness.
Abakpa said: “the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) ought to give enough time to enable Nigerians prepare for it. CBN should know that not every Nigerian is having bank account talkless of e-money. Most of them who cannot write would be not be carried along.
“What CBN needs most is ability to educate everyone on it and save people from demoralisation, because it will demoralise and be cumbersome to many people and they will lose confidence in government. CBN should run both physical and e-money together, not total removal of physical notes from circulation.”
On his part, the general secretary of Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSAN), Comrade Lucky Odigie, urged federal government to desist from policy summersaults.
Odigie said: “FG should not start what it will not be able to sustain. In fact, this policy has already failed before birth. How can government just wake up with policy that would add more burdens to the masses that have already been pushed to the wall?”
In addition, Odigie advised FG to always put interest of the masses first in all their planning in order to reduce harsh economic situations that are pushing some into vices.