CBN mints N3b eNaira notes for 33 banks

Banking sector lending to critical sectors still paramount –CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has in the last one year, minted N3 billion eNaira notes for 33 banks linked to the payment platform, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele announced yesterday.

He spoke at the eNaira one year anniversary conference in Lagos.

Emefiele said 700,000 transactions amounting to N8 billion have been recorded on the platform while over 2.5 million daily visits to the eNaira website.

He said the 33 banks are fully integrated and live on the platform with N2.10 billion of the minted notes issued to financial institutions.

The CBN boss disclosed that 1.0 million (919,000) customers have been on-boarded while 3,305 merchants have successfully registered on the eNaira platform across the country including Shoprite, Sahad Stores, A.A. Rano fueling stations, Fraser Suites, November Cubes, among others.

Emefiele said: “I am delighted to be here today to celebrate yet another milestone in our journey towards transforming Nigeria to a digital economy, and most importantly building the future monetary system of our  country in response to the emerging trends and developments in the global digital space.”

He said the eNaira is expected to enhance financial inclusion, support poverty reduction, enable direct welfare disbursement to citizens, support a resilient payments ecosystem, improve availability and usability of central bank money, facilitate diaspora remittances, reduce the cost of processing cash, and reduce cost and improve efficiency of cross-border payment among others.

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Emefiele said going forward, the eNaira will be onboarding revenue collection agencies to increase and simplify collections, 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.

He said the eNaira was designed to provide Nigerians with a cheap, safe and trusted means of payment within the domestic and global economy.

“To achieve these set out objectives, the project adopted a phased-approach with the first phase focusing on building a resilient system and the on-boarding of banked users, while the policy objective of the second phase borders around financial inclusion using offline payments channels like agent networks, USSD, wearables, cards and near field communication technology, among others. In addition, the second phase also sought to deepen private sector participation and ultimately enhance Nigerians’ participation in the digital economy while promoting further development of a burgeoning Fintech ecosystem,” he stated.

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He said that partner agents, which are corporate entities to sensitize users, promote the eNaira and facilitate the onboarding of a large number of new eNaira users, in collaboration with the project team.

He said the team has leveraged the robust collaborative environment in the payments and digital financial services ecosystem by engaging the Super Agents, Fintechs, Association of Licensed Mobile Payment Operators (ALMPO), Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) among others to foster greater adoption especially in the underserved and unbanked segments of the population. In addition, bearing in mind that the youth are the driving force of the economy, the Bank is actively collaborating with the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Engaging these young minds will help drive innovation and secure the future of Nigeria.

To drive financial inclusion, a key policy objective of the eNaira, on-boarding the unbanked and underserved users, using the eNaira USSD channel using *997# was unveiled in August 2022. The choice of the USSD as the premium channel for eNaira access is founded in an understanding of the peculiarities of our economy.

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“Approximately, 45.0 per cent of adult Nigerians do not have a bank account while 35.9 per cent are excluded from formal financial services. However, around 81 per cent of the adult population in Nigeria (86.0 million out of 106 million) own mobile phones (EFInA, 2021), in addition, there are about 150 million Mobile Subscribers in Nigeria (NCC, June 2022).   Therefore, the eNaira seeks to leverage the huge opportunity mobile telecommunications presents as a distribution channel for the offering of digital financial services to the underserved and unbanked population.”

To facilitate interoperability, the NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) solution, which allows eNaira users to seamlessly transact between the eNaira and any bank of their choice across the country, was made available in August 2022. This feature has received wide usage by users recording over N301 million worth of transactions so far.

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