The Unique Currency of Ijara-Isin: A Remarkable Trading System in Kwara Community
Welcome to Ijara-Isin, a small and peaceful community located in Isin Local Government Area of Kwara State, Nigeria. In this tranquil village, residents have created a distinctive means of conducting trade that sets them apart from the rest of the country. They use a special form of currency known as vouchers, which are accepted by local traders in exchange for goods and services. Join us as we explore the fascinating story of Ijara-Isin and its innovative voucher system.
The Birth of the Voucher System:
The voucher system was introduced to Ijara-Isin in 2021, shortly after the coronation of their new traditional ruler, Oba Ajibola Ademola. Inspired by his visit to the United States, where he witnessed how factories used vouchers to keep money circulating within their communities, Oba Ademola implemented a similar scheme in Ijara-Isin. The objective was to encourage residents to spend their money within the community and stimulate local economic growth.
How the Voucher System Works:
In Ijara-Isin, the vouchers come in various denominations, including 100, 200, 500, 5,000, and 10,000. Market traders in the community accept both the local vouchers and the national currency, the Nigerian naira. When residents receive vouchers as payment, they can deposit them in their accounts at the Ijara-Isin Development Fund and Cooperative (IDFC) office, where they are later converted into cash for restocking.
The Benefits of the Voucher System:
The introduction of vouchers has brought several advantages to the community of Ijara-Isin. Firstly, it has significantly improved business transactions in the local market, according to traders like Omolara Babalola. By using the vouchers, residents can keep their money circulating within the community, supporting local businesses and preventing capital from flowing outside. Additionally, the vouchers act as a safeguard against theft since they are worthless to anyone who steals them, further ensuring the safety of traders in the market.
Vouchers and Community Development:
The voucher system in Ijara-Isin not only promotes economic growth but also fosters community development. Some individuals working with the king, such as Akinleye Tolulope, receive a portion of their pay in vouchers. This arrangement encourages them to patronize the local market, strengthening the village’s economic system. The IDFC manages the voucher system, ensuring the proper issuance, authentication, and exchange of vouchers in the community.
Legal Aspects and Public Opinion:
The legality of the voucher system has raised some questions. While the Central Bank of Nigeria has the authority to issue legal tender and manage currency, legal experts have stated that the vouchers used in Ijara-Isin do not violate any laws. As long as the vouchers are not claimed to be legal tender and are accepted solely within the community, they are seen as a unique medium of exchange for local transactions. Some critics argue against the system, but supporters highlight its convenience and positive impact on the local economy
Ijara-Isin stands as a remarkable example of community-driven innovation. The introduction of vouchers as a means of trade has brought economic benefits to the residents of this small Nigerian community. By encouraging locals to spend within their own community, the voucher system has boosted business activity and reduced theft. While the legal status of the vouchers is a topic of debate, their impact on the daily lives of Ijara-Isin’s residents is undeniable. As this small community continues to thrive and evolve, the unique currency of Ijara-Isin remains an emblem of their unity and program.