Nigerians Turn to eNaira for Safety Amid Cash Scarcity, Transactions Surge

Nigerians Turn to eNaira for Safety Amid Cash Scarcity, Transactions Surge

  • A new report says that the eNaira has jumped in adoption since the start of the naira crisis
  • The report said the use of eNaira wallet jumped 12-fold to 63%, that is N22 billion worth of transactions this year
  • CBN had asked the Nigerian government to use the eNaira to disburse the $800 million meant for the National Social Safety Net Programme Scale Up

Amid the crippling cash scarcity, Nigerians have been turning to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s digital currency, the eNaira, to overcome the situation.

According to reports, the number of eNaira wallets spiked more than 12-fold to 13 million since October 2022, when the apex bank announced the redesigning of the old naira notes.

eNaira, CBN, Emefiele
The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei
Source: Getty Images

Emefiele rates eNaira performance high

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said that the volume of transactions has jumped to 63% to N22 billion, about $48 million this year.

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CBN introduced the digital currency in October 2021, and it has struggled with the naira crisis since the bank replaced the old banknotes with new ones late last year.

Data shows that the currency in circulation crashed to less than N1 trillion since February 2023.

The report also states that the shortage of notes has left people in Africa’s largest economy struggling to pay for essential services and needs.

People have said the eNaira is not a viable alternative in a country with about $200 billion informal economy thriving on cash, few merchants, and a vast infrastructure deficit for broader adoption of the eNaira.

CBN asks FG to use eNaira to share billions to Nigerians

In February 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria pitched the eNaira to the federal government as the best alternative for transferring $800 million, about N368.8 billion, in its National Social Safety Net Programme Scale Up.

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The pitch by the CBN is an effort to drive and strengthen its cashless policy.

The pitch is contained in CBN’s National Fintech Strategy document.

According to the document, the eNaira can be pre-programmed for payments to the poor and helpless on the social register.

The document read:

“The central bank can use a pre-programmed eNaira to pay intended beneficiaries on the social register, which could be accepted only for a specific purpose and at specifically authorised locations.
“This use case will ensure the proper use of social funds, ensure high-quality data can be collected on the performance of these programs, and help to prevent leakage or diversion of funds. This capability could be extended to other use cases in financial services and related ecosystems, where a priority exists to maintain the integrity of funds and the purpose for which it is used.”

Use eNaira, internet banking as an alternative to cash crisis, CBN tells Nigerians

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Naira rebounds on the black market amid slow dollar demands, cash scarcity reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria had asked Nigerians to explore using eNaira and Internet banking as alternatives to the current cash crunch.

The bank’s Director of Corporate Communications Department, Osita Nwanisiobi, represented by the Director of Capacity Development of the bank, Mohammad Abbah, said this at the recently concluded 44th Kaduna International Trade Fair.

The CBN spokesman said the payment infrastructure could handle voluminous transactions across all channels.


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