E-Naira Mobile Application has so far recorded 905,588 downloads, with 282,600 active users.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefile declared yesterday at the CBN headquarters in Abuja. The CBN governor said more Nigerians are gradually embracing the eNaira wallet.
It could be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched eNaira in October 2021 as a digital form of Naira which can be used just like cash. The eNaira is equal in value to the paper naira.
E-Naira clearly differs from cryptocurrency because it is issued by a central authority, regulated and subject to banking laws.
According to the CBN governor, about 1.5 million transactions worth over N3.484 billion has been carried out on eNaira wallets.
A partial breakdown shows that customers-to-banks transactions have reached 78,115 transactions with a monetary worth of about N1 billion while banks to customers transactions stood at 90,760 with monetary worth of N945 million.
Furthermore, customers-to-customers transactions stood at 35,800 with a capital value of N480 million while customer-to-merchant transactions have reached 171,000 transactions with a worth of more than N387 million.
Meanwhile, the CBN governor added that the introduction of the USSD short code to access eNaira has further driven its adoption. In August 2022, the central bank introduced a short code *997# as a supplementary service for the eNaira.
Emefiele stated that 13,136 e-Naira wallets have been created through the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD). He declared that the apex bank is happy with the growth of eNaira while the bank expects the number to rise exponentially in the coming months.
Nigeria is the first country in Africa to launch a digital currency. According to the Central Bank, a digital naira is aimed to drive inclusion, digital economy and the cashless policy of the central bank.
Investors King learnt that other countries which have a digital currency include China, Bahamas and Jamaica.
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Nigerians Turned to eNaira For Transactions as Naira Scarcity Persists
Recent reports reveal that Nigerians increasingly turned to the nation’s digital currency eNaira as transaction value jumped a whopping 63% to N22 billion ($48 million) amid the ongoing cash crunch bedeviling the country.
The number of eNaira wallets is reported to have jumped more than 12-fold to 13 million since October last year.
Speaking on the recent surge in the adoption of the eNaira, Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said the eNaira has emerged as the electronic payment choice for financial inclusion and executing social interventions.
He further noted that the Naira circulation in the country had dropped to around 1 trillion Naira from 3.2 trillion Naira in September 2022. Hence, to bridge this deficit, he disclosed that more than 10 billion Naira of the CBN’s digital currency has been minted so far, and about 3.4 billion Naira is in circulation.
The increased rate of the eNaira adoption in Nigeria doesn’t come as a surprise owing to the fact that Nigerians have been struggling with a crippling cash shortage since the CBN policy to redesign the higher denominations (N200, N500, N1,000) of the naira notes.
Currency in circulation slumped to about 1 trillion naira from N3.28 trillion in December 2022 to N1.38 trillion in January and an estimated N982.09 billion in February 2023 representing a 235 percent decline. The shortage of cash has left many individuals in the country of about 218 million struggling to pay for basic needs. Investors King understands that Nigeria which has a $220 billion informal economy, thrives on cash transaction.
Recall that the eNaira was launched by the Central Bank of Nigeria in October 2021, which saw Nigeria become the first country in Africa to launch its digital currency. The CBN disclosed that the eNaira was introduced to increase remittances, foster cross-border trade, improve financial inclusion and enable the government to make welfare payments more easily.
The launch of the CBN digital currency however came as a surprise to a lot of Nigerians, as the CBN has been suspicious of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, after it issued a directive that prohibited banks from taking part in financial transactions involving cryptocurrencies, which many Nigerians often use as a hedge against naira depreciation.
At the initial launch of the eNaira, it was faced with widespread rejection and less usage from Nigerians. A year after the launch of the eNaira, less than 0.5% of Nigerians were using it. In a bid to encourage the digital currency adoption at the grassroots level, the CBN offered Keke NAPEP (tricycle taxis) and their customers a 5% discount for using the CBDC as means of payment.
In November 2022 one year after the eNaira launch, the CBN celebrated 700,000 completed eNaira transactions valued at ₦8 billion ($17.4 million). If the shortage of cash persists in the country, it is not far-fetched to say that the eNaira transaction rate would record another significant increase.
Naira Scarcity: CBN Introduces USSD Code For eNaira to Ease Transactions
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN on Thursday, introduced a USSD code for its digital currency, eNaira amidst naira scarcity.
Investors King reports that the USSD code given as *997*50# for the eNaira will be active and used on Bullnet platform.
Launching the USSD system in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer, Bullnet Bulletin and Enquiries Networking Services, Bayo Akintoye stated that the new initiative will solve the cash crunch issue.
According to Akintoye, the introduction of the USSD code for eNaira will ease the suffering of the citizens until the country fully actualises its laid down cashless policy and economy.
He noted that the system will be helpful to those without bank accounts as they would only require their phone numbers to register and enjoy the services.
The CEO enjoined Nigerians to embrace the USSD eNaira system while stressing its benefits and easy usage for transactions.
“The CBN has collaborated with Chamsmobile Limited (a CBN licensed Mobile Money Operator and Super-Agent) to address challenges faced primarily by the unbanked, the underserved and those on the other side of the digital divide by developing the service known as ‘eNairaeNhanced Services’ via the eNaira USSD channel (*997*50#) which is fully run and powered by the patented Bullnet Platform.
“It is expected that Nigerians will proudly associate with this innovation and register to have the eNaira wallet. These wallets can be funded directly with cash-purchased vouchers (like the GSM recharge cards) or from funded bank accounts using bank cards via the web portal or using electronic payment with any authorized agent.
“Users can also transfer eNaira from one wallet to another simply by inputting the recipient’s phone number. The service also makes it possible for users to cash out by sending the eNaira directly from their wallets to an ATM and withdrawing the cash equivalent without the need for a bank account or bank card. The user can also send eNaira to a designated bank account for savings or further transactions,” Akintoye explained.
Also speaking, the Project Coordinator, eNaira Project Giant Team, Otaru Abdulkadir, who represented the Coordinator of eNaira, CBN explained that the eNaira, if well utilised will enhance financial inclusion across all states, improve cross border transactions, international transactions and boost the economy.
Investors King recalls that the eNaira was launched in October, 2021 as part of CBN’s measure to implement its cashless policy and move from a cash-based economy.
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