President Muhammadu Buhari has officially launched Nigeria’s digital currency called the eNaira with the Central Bank of Nigeria minting N500 million and allocating N200 million to banks.
The unveiling took place at the state house, Abuja; Nigeria’s Capital city.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele at the event said that 33 banks are fully integrated and live on the platform, over 2,000 customers have been onboarded and over 120 merchants have successfully registered on the eNaira platform.
Emefiele said: “Today, customers who download the eNaira Speed Wallet App will be able to perform the following: Onboard and create their wallet; Fund their eNaira wallet from their bank account; Transfer eNaira from their wallet to another wallet; Make payment for purchases at registered merchant locations. “
One important feature of the eNaira is that it can be accessed without internet, a feature the government expects will engender financial inclusion.
“Therefore, Nigerians should expect to see additional functionalities in the coming months, including Accessibility and onboarding of customers without BVN, and the use of the eNaria on the phone without the internet will further drive financial inclusion, making Nigeria one of the first countries in the world to deploy the CBDC via USSD on phones without relying on internet connectivity; Onboarding of revenue collection agencies to increase and simplify collections; 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,” Emefiele concluded.
Emefiele also disclosed that all transactions conducted on the newly launched eNaira will be free for 90 days. The bank, however, stated that it will revert to its guide on applicable charges by banks and other financial and non-financial institutions at the end of the stated period.
Despite the excitement around the eNaira by the CBN, it remains to be seen if Nigerians will actually adopt the digital currency considering the fact that it is at par with the naira and it does appreciate like bitcoin and other digital currencies.