Nigeria’s top banking regulator has published figures to back up President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim of job losses to users of the computerized cash management system due to virus attacks.
Following the bug that hit the system at the Central Bank of Nigeria between Dec. 12 and Dec. 21, Buhari said on Wednesday that more than 20 percent of people whose jobs depended on cash had lost their jobs. Buhari said as many as 400,000 jobs had been cut, but that the economic meltdown and his government’s decision to retain an export tax on petroleum products had led to more jobs being lost than the computer virus.
The CBN said in a statement on Friday that the claims were based on data collated by the Nigerian Information Technology Automation and Security Standards Council (NITASS). NITASS data, it said, showed that by Dec. 20, the average number of days of active usage of the biometric clearing house had dropped to 1,750. It noted that “to date, only 67.5 percent of the CBN’s target of 106,000 transactions had been fully executed and 76.6 percent of all transactions had reached the deadline.”
NITASS, said the CBN, had begun to train employees on alternative processing methods. Buhari said the bug, which he has declined to label a virus, crippled about 200 computer-tradition channels across Nigeria, including its SWIFT services to 730 banks.
Nigeria has been undergoing an economic meltdown for years. A near-collapse of its currency, as well as high inflation and devaluation of its currency, meant Nigeria’s naira had lost more than 70 percent of its value to the dollar in the last four years. Many businessmen have rushed to leave the country since 2016. Buhari has cast blame on the previous government for undermining the economy and failed to address the consequences of its policies.