• Nigeria recently introduced the eNaira, a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) into its financial system.
• The Nigerian government has imposed restrictions on cash withdrawals, limiting them to $225 per week, with a daily limit of around $45.
• Many Nigerians fear that the CBDC is being used to enforce financial control and push a cashless policy.
Heritage Falodun, a Bitcoin consultant and computer scientist based in Nigeria, shares his opinion about the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to Nigeria’s financial system and the resulting implications for citizens.
CBDC in Nigeria
In late 2021, Nigeria introduced its own CBDC, the eNaira, into its financial system. To encourage people away from using cash, the Nigerian government put limits on how much could be withdrawn from banks each week: only around 100,000 naira or approximately $225 can be taken out at once with an additional daily limit of $45. Godwin Emefiele – Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria – believes this will help more people become financially included as money moves from commodity to plastic and digital forms. However, many Nigerians are concerned that this move is part of an effort to enforce greater financial control over them through pushing a cashless policy.
The reactions of citizens demonstrate their understanding that these regulations are largely intended for control rather than inclusion. Oluwasegun Kosemani tweeted on February 2nd 2023 that “the Nigerian government is intentionally forcing its citizens into a cashless Keynesian economy while they position their surveillance CBDC – eNaria as final destination” – just two days after the initial January 31st deadline set by the Central Bank for all Nigerians to return old notes.. This suggests deep unease about how these policies may affect individual freedom going forward.
Impacts on Financial Freedom
As it stands today, there is a real risk that Nigerians will lose some degree of financial autonomy as they move towards using eNaira instead of cash in everyday transactions. The new restrictions inhibit people’s ability to access physical money when needed which further reinforces any power imbalance between those who have access to banking services and those who do not – such as rural communities or those living below poverty line etc.. Although it was initially meant for inclusion purposes it does not guarantee fairness in terms of distribution; therefore leaving open room for manipulation by certain groups or individuals with power or privilege over others in society.
It is evident that introducing CBDCs like eNaira affects more than just finances; it also carries cultural implications related to freedom and autonomy from oppressive regimes or policies which can potentially lead to increased inequality between different social classes unless addressed properly through proper oversight mechanisms and accountability measures among other things . Ultimately , while CBDCs may represent hope for financial inclusion , without careful consideration they might contribute further towards widening existing economic disparities within societies such as Nigeria’s .