• Nigeria recently launched a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the eNaira, as part of its financial system.
• The government has put restrictions on cash withdrawal, limiting it to about $225 per week and $45 per day.
• These regulations have been met with skepticism from Nigerians who view them as an attempt by the government to gain more control over citizens’ finances.
This is an opinion editorial by Heritage Falodun, a Bitcoin consultant and computer scientist based in Nigeria. It focuses on the launch of the eNaira, Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and how it has sparked new sets of financial policies, regulations and restrictions from the Nigerian government.
In an effort to drive consumers toward alternative options like its CBDC, the Nigerian government has now put restrictions on cash withdrawals from banks limiting it to about $225 per week or 100,000 naira and a daily limit of about $45. This has caused some concern among Nigerians who perceive these regulations as an attempt by the government to gain more control over citizens’ finances.
Viewpoint of CBDC Launch
The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele views that launching a CBDC is “to ensure that more people in this country are financially included” due to advancements in money technology moving from commodity to metallic, then paper and plastic; now digital. He believes that this should be seen as a solution for their economic predicaments such as inflation, monetary censorship and rigid access to foreign exchange amongst others however so far this does not appear to be what is happening on ground level within Nigeria since January 2021 when they launched their CBDC.
Reaction From Nigerians
On February 2nd 2023 just two days after the initial deadline set by the Central Bank for all Nigerians to return old naira denominations a Nigerian named Oluwasegun Kosemani tweeted expressing his view that “the Nigerian government is intentionally forcing its citizens into a cashless Keynesian economy while they position their surveillance CBDC – eNaria as final destination”. This example shows how well-informed younger generations understand what these regulations mean for them in terms of financial control which appears mostly directed at pushing towards a cashless policy where the government holds complete control over all citizens’ finances.