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CeBIH advocates adoption of e-naira as support portal hits cyberspace

By Geoff Iyatse
28 September 2021   |   3:03 am
Ahead of the October rollout, the Committee of e-business Industry Heads (CeBIH) has lauded the e-naira initiative, urging Nigerians to adopt it as it will facilitate faster and cheaper transactions

Naira notes[/captionAhead of the October rollout, the Committee of e-business Industry Heads (CeBIH) has lauded the e-naira initiative, urging Nigerians to adopt it as it will facilitate faster and cheaper transactions and will drive financial inclusion.

CeBIH Chairman, Adeyemi Atanda, said this in Abuja at the third-quarter industry forum of (CeBIH) tagged ‘digital currency and the prospects of Central Bank digital currency in Nigeria’.

The call came as the e-naira digital platform, enaira.com, became operational. The platform provides information on merchants, wallet usage, peer-to-peer payment process, among others. Users can also download the digital wallet via the digital platform.

“We are a people-oriented digital currency leveraging technology to connect individuals and businesses for easy trading and financial inclusion. We push the boundaries, bridge the gaps and tell actual humane stories. We are the foremost audience-centric digital currency brandishing a face,” the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on the site.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had told an audience in New York, the United States that the planned pilot phase unveiling earlier scheduled for October 1, 2021, would be moved to October 4 owing to activities surrounding Independence Day commemoration.

Atanda said the users of the electronic money would be compensated with the fact that transactions come at near-zero cost, adding, this will help Nigerians to save more.

He said: “When you hear e-naira, think transactional not investments. That is where a lot of people are mixing it up. You cannot compare it with crypto. Crypto is not primarily transactional, it is primarily an investment. But e-naira is primarily transactional.”

He expressed confidence in the capacity of the banking sector and its regulator, the CBN to manage fraud and other cyber security challenges that could arise from the adoption of the e-naira.

“We have been very innovative in trying to guard against fraud as much as possible. All of the experiences we have gained from digital banking as regards managing fraud – things like second factor or multi-factor authentication, encryption, and other innovations – will still apply in this case,” he said.

He argued that the digital naira would deepen the financial system while bringing a large chunk of the money outside the banking sector into the system.

On the downside, Atanda said there are fears that banks would lose some deposits.

“The liabilities that we sit on today will be moved from naira where we can use it easily to digital currency. But it is a function of how creative we get as bankers,” he argued.

Also speaking, Director, Information and Technology, CBN, Rakiya Mohammed, said the introduction of e-naira can catalyse Nigeria’s digital economy, boost cross-border trade and enable better macroeconomic policy formulation. She added that macroeconomic policies would be better formulated due to the digitisation of processes.

Muhammed disclosed that the design would soon be revealed as the apex bank has concluded its development. The e-naira, she noted, would be a legal tender like the fiat naira.

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