The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that it is in talks to include other telcos on the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) eNaira platform to widen its adoption and acceptance nationwide.
Currently, eNaira transactions are only enabled on MTN and 9mobile network but that will soon change if everything goes according to plan.
This is as the CBN has urged more businesses to adopt the eNaira for transactions and trade, especially using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), which it stated has almost no downtime.
The Coordinator, eNaira, CBN, Ms. Rakiya Mohammed said this yesterday at a media parley which also had the representation of its technical partners BullNet and the Balogun Business Association in Lagos.
Mohammed who was represented by eNaira Project Giant Team, Otaru Abdulkadir, noted that the cashless policy has enormous gains in the long run
He said: “The eNaira also came in to create an efficient and resilient environment for our electronic payments and transactions. I would like to commend the management of BullNet for coming up with this innovation and I see that this corresponds with our aim of the eNaira which includes reaching out to the financially excluded and the unbanked. We had to not only do something that works on the smartphone but something that works on any feature phone and with tech companies coming on board such as BullNet, people with limited internet services can fund their eNaira wallet and have a safe wallet to be able to transact without having to go through the difficulties of having cash at hand.
“With the eNaira, we have a resilient infrastructure that can handle the requirements of the cashless policy and if we are able to drive the adoption of the eNaira efficiently, this will take away the pressure of the current cash crunch and issues with financial transactions in the country.”
He added: “We are still in the process of getting more telcos to buy into the USSD. We have a third-party service and they were able to get us MTN and 9Mobile. We are already speaking to Airtel and Glo as well and soon we will have them onboard with the eNaira.
“People have been quite receptive to the eNaira, the figure we have at the moment is a successful growing figure. However, pending when we can have more tech companies, banks, and businesses, then we can have a full ecosystem or create a new eNaira ecosystem. Hence, we need to create businesses where you can spend with the eNaira and this is what the CBN has been doing in that area to make the innovation to be successful.
“We are also planning to onboard the traders at Balogun Market thankfully we have a representative here regardless of the type of phone they use. We have had a lot of tech firms, PoS operators come forward and we like what firms such as BullNet is doing and we are using this opportunity to appeal to stakeholders in this transactional ecosystem which includes merchants, traders, organisations to come onboard with the eNaira project just in case they need assistance.”
He added that the eNaira has four methods which include scan to pay, wallet ID, USSD (*997#) and voucher and that the apex bank is partnering agents and sensitising people on the eNaira.
“We are also speaking with government MDAs to be able to find more ways payment can be made with the eNaira. This speaks to government collections, remittances and the likes.The eNaira brings a lot of features. Firstly, transactions are swift, with no network failure, no reverse or truncated transactions and is very secure. Embracing this (eNaira) will increase financial literacy for everyone, standard of living increases reduces operational cost for financial institutions, and provide a more resilient network. Hence with the eNaira, we can be able to start transacting efficiently and more securely.”
On his part, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, BullNet, Bayo Akintoye noted that the technology offered is completely safe and has limited downtime, which would foster effectiveness in trade as transactions are done quickly and easily.
He said: “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.”