From Uche Usim, Abuja
With over 488,000 consumer wallets, 78,000 merchant wallets, 17,000 transactions amounting to over N62 million, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and key stakeholders in the payments system sector are working on further deepening eNaira adoption in Nigeria.
Arising from a one-day engagement session in Lagos on Monday, the apex bank, Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and a large community of Fintech groups resolved to work together to ensure more adoption of the recently launched Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the eNaira as it remains the game changer in the commerce ecosystem.
Speaking at the licensed PSPs Engagement Session, as part of further interaction with a broader category of industry players, the Director, Information Technology Department (ITD) at the CBN, Mrs. Rakiya Mohammed, clarified that the CBN was neither competing with the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) nor other actors in the Nigerian payment system environment.
Mrs. Mohammed explained that the engagement was in continuation of the Bank’s strategy to bring all stakeholders on board what she described as a journey, noting that the CBN was open to suggestions and innovation aimed at adding value to the eNaira and improving the user experience.
She, therefore, urged the payment service providers (including the large community of Fintech groups) to find more innovative ways to support members of the public, where possible, in the onboarding process and use of eNaira as well as develop solutions for offline eNaira functions including cards, wearables, USSD, among others.
While also admonishing the licensed PSPs to create additional use cases for the eNaira, she tasked licensed PSPs to create additional products and services across the full spectrum of the financial system using eNaira.
Mohammed further disclosed that the full implementation of the eNaira, which started with the onboarding of banked, would be done in four phases, culminating in offline eNaira payments solutions, cross-border payment and interoperability of the eNaira with those of other Central Banks.
In their individual remarks, the representatives of the different stakeholder groups welcomed the introduction of the eNaira and expressed support for its adoption and use. They also made value-add proposals for the market and integration process to drive financial inclusion by bridging the gap between the banked and the unbanked.
Going forward, the CBN team and the different stakeholder groups agreed to meet periodically to review the progress made to enable more Nigerians to access eNaira.
On the CBN team were the Director, Banking Services Department, Samuel Okojere; Director, Payment System Management Depart, Musa Jimoh; Director, Risk Management, Dr. Blaise Ijebor; the Director, Financial Policy and Regulations Department, Mr. Chibuzor Efobi; and the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Payment Systems, Mary Fasheitan.
The different groups present at the engagement were from Payment Service Banks, Switching and Processing companies; Mobile Money Operators; Payment Solution Service Provider; Payment Terminal Service Providers; and Super Agents.
Also present were representatives of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN); the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS); Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF); and the Committee of eBanking Industry Heads.
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