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By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief, ABUJA

Transactions on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, digital currency, the e-Naira, platform has hit N4 billion, since its launch last October.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, gave the update, yesterday, at the on-going grand finale of the e-Naira Hackathon, in Abuja.

According to him, “Since the launch of this great initiative, the e-Naira has reached 840,000 downloads, with about 270,000 active wallets comprising over 252,000 consumer wallets and 17,000 merchant wallets.

“In addition, volume and value of transactions on the platform have been remarkable, reaching above 200,000 and N4 billion, respectively.”

The governor disclosed that despite the successes recorded on the initiative, the bank, in collaboration with private sector operators has started the second phase of the e-Naira.

His words: “Notwithstanding this appreciable progress, the second phase of the project has begun and it is intended to drive financial inclusion by onboarding unbanked and under-served users leveraging offline channels.

“Hence, greater success is envisioned for the project with phase two expected to deliver more gains with a target of about 8,000,000 active users based on estimations using the diffusion of innovation model.”

Emefiele said CBN remained strategic in charting the future of the Naira by balancing innovation with stability of the currency.

He said: “Pursuant to achieving its mandate of preserving monetary and financial stability, the CBN is strategic in charting the future of Nigeria’s legal tender, be it in its traditional or digital form as the economy transits to a digital one as well as charting the course for innovation in the financial sector and in the infrastructure underpinning financial markets, hence, the importance of getting the balance right between innovation and stability.

“Against this background, the launch of e-Naira was timely and strategic in complementing the various diversification and digitisation initiatives of the Federal Government including the launch of the Nigeria Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), The National Broadband Strategy, as well as the introduction of the Start-Up Bill and a host of others.

Why we developed eNaira

The CBN boss said that the eNaira would make a significant positive difference to Nigeria and Nigerians, as it would ease their participation in the global digital economy.

He said: “Specifically, 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.

“The eNaira was also developed to provide Nigerians with a cheap, safe and trusted means of payment. Unlike the offline payments channels like agent networks, USSD, wearables, cards and near field communication technology, the eNaira would give access to financial services to underserved and unbanked segments of the population.

“Innovative products and services built on the eNaira would enhance Nigerians’ participation in the digital economy and promote further development of a burgeoning Fintech ecosystem.”

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