The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele yesterday disclosed that the country’s digital currency, the eNaira recorded a total of N8 billion transactions in the first one year after it was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The CBN governor also said the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) was part of the central bank’s plan to make Nigeria fully a cashless economy.
Emefiele, also noted that in the coming days, the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee would unveil plans which would ensure the cashless policy is fully integrated across the county.
He also said the central bank was set to collaborate with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs for targeted social welfare programs as well as to on-board revenue collection agencies on the digital currency platform.
Emefiele said these in Lagos, at a conference to mark the one-year anniversary of the eNaira in Lagos.
He said: “Since its launch, the eNaira has offered Nigerians endless possibilities in using financial services thus, living up to the chosen slogan, ‘Same Naira, More Possibilities,’ as well as achieving some set out objectives.
“Specifically, there has been overwhelming interest and encouraging response from Nigerians and other parties across the world with 33 banks fully integrated and live on the platform; N3 billion has been successfully minted by the bank, N2.10 billion has been issued to financial institutions and about one million (919,000) customers have been on-boarded.
“Over 3,305 merchants have successfully registered on the eNaira platform across the country including Shoprite, Sahad Stores, A.A. Rano fuelling stations, Fraser Suites, November Cubes, among others; over 700,000 transactions amounting to about N8 billion have been recorded on the platform and over 2.5 million daily visits to the eNaira website.”
Speaking further on the central bank’s plan to make Nigeria fully cashless, he said: “The journey has been to make Nigeria a predominantly cashless economy where transactions are done with limited, little, or no cash.
“Banks have incurred a lot of costs in an attempt to embrace a cashless economy. We also had collaborations with mobile networks and had payment service banks (PSB) using all sorts of channels.
“The destination as far as I am concerned is to achieve 100 per cent cashless economy in Nigeria. I know that those who doubt us will say that 100 per cent cashless is unattainable.
“Yes, it is true but Nigeria must move from being a predominantly cash economy to a predominantly cashless economy.
“I want to say we have provided all the needed infrastructure that will enable us make cashless a nationwide journey. It is not something that some of us will like, but we would in the coming weeks and months make pronouncements that must make cashless go nationwide. I believe part of those pronouncements will begin from tomorrow and there will be some breaking news tomorrow.
“Even the bankers’ committee will hold a special bankers’ committee meeting tomorrow to deliberate on this, so let us expect the news.”
According to Emefiele, “as with most digital revolutions, the eNaira is a journey that started five years ago, precisely 2017. It is not a one-off event, but a journey of possibilities. “Thus, the bank would continue to refine, fine-tune and upgrade it. Therefore, Nigerians should expect to see additional functionalities in the coming months, including the on-boarding of revenue collection agencies to increase and simplify collections and collaborating with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs through the creation of sector-specific tokens to support the federal government’s social programmes and distribution of targeted welfare schemes in a bid to lift millions out of poverty by 2025.
“Let me reiterate that the success of the eNaira project could not have come without the active collaboration of several stakeholders inside and outside the government. Let me use this medium to acknowledge the partnership and unwavering support of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy through National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the partnership with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. I would also like to commend the African Fintech Foundry and Merchants and Consumers for onboarding and conducting their transactions on the eNaira Platform.”
“The CBN acknowledges the daunting task ahead. We therefore call on all relevant stakeholders, including the Financial Institutions, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS), FinTech groups, Telcos and merchants to collaborate, innovate, deepen and enhance the value of eNaira to Nigerians and to Nigeria. It is the Bank’s hope that the eNaira will drive the digital economy agenda and foster a more prosperous Nigeria.”