Almost a year after President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), known as the eNaira, it has yet to fully permeate the financial industry, a situation the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) blamed on the country’s banks’ uncooperation.
The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, stated last week that the use of the enaira for transactions has not begun as planned due to “apathy” by bankers who try to discourage their customers from transferring funds from their bank accounts to the enaira wallet.
While answering a question about the bank’s progress on the enaira project, Emefiele stated that while there has been some progress, “we will admit that there is a need for a lot more enlightenment for enaira.”
The enaira was launched in October of last year, making the country the second in the world to launch a CBDC. The enaira was created to promote cashless transactions, reduce transaction costs, and bring more people into the financial system.
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While urging Nigerians to not only download the app but also transfer funds from their bank accounts into their wallets for ease of transaction, Emefiele stated that “there may be a little bit of resistance to you from the banks.”
“This is because moving money from your account to your wallet is a disadvantage to the banks.” I want to say something bold and direct. It is a disadvantage for them. I’ll be blunt because I’m a banker: banks are apathetic because they know they’ll lose money if you continue to use your enaira wallet for transactions.”
He stated that using the enaira is “almost free, at least for the time being.” So, go to your bank and request that your account be linked to your wallet. It will cost you little or nothing in comparison to the other products you have that would cost you money in the bank.”
Meanwhile, Emefiele stated that the CBN is moving on to the next phase of the enaira and is collaborating with telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria, to activate the use of USSD code for enaira transactions in the country.
“Until now, we’ve concentrated on the banked population.” We are almost finished testing with MTN to provide a channel where the unbanked can sign up using the code *997#. We believe that once this is completed, we will be targeting the unbanked population. We will also use available agency banking arrangements and other means to drive our enaira product.”
He also stated that the CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers Committee, will increase its education programmes to raise awareness about the enaira, adding that the publicity “will continue to go on.”
Our people will continue to educate others about the benefits of enaira.
“I must say that the enaira is the product with the lowest cost in terms of moving money electronically from one location to another.” Today, I learned that people are using the enaira on Remita.net to make purchases. You can use the enaira to pay for DSTV and government bills. You can buy airtime and conduct a variety of other transactions using the enaira at the lowest possible cost.”