After launching the eNaira about nine months ago, the adoption rate is still shallow. Meanwhile, the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) governor, Godwin Emefiele, blamed commercial banks for the low patronage.
Additionally, he stated the banks do not like the idea of a CBDC. This is because the increased usage of the eNaira will not generate revenue for them.
Emefiele Attacks Commercial Banks For Their Apathy Towards The eNaira
As stated by Bloomberg, Emefiele confirmed that the CBDC had recorded low usage despite efforts from the CBN. According to statistics, just 700,000 Nigerians have created an eNaira account.
This is an insufficient number compared to the total number of users with bank accounts. The number of Nigerians with bank accounts is over 55 million. Besides, several persons do not have access to banking facilities.
According to Emefiele, Nigerian commercial banks have been lackadaisical towards the CBDC. The CBN governor blames them for stifling its growth.
One reason he gave for the bans’ apathy is that the eNaira does not incur charges. As a result, the banks will not benefit when more individuals begin to use it.
Additionally, eNaira deposits do not stand ad cash to the bank. Hence, they are different from revenue generated from other banking services. Emefiele stated that:
“Fintech firms and banks say away from the eNaira because it does not present any revenue generation opportunity to them. However, citizens should embrace virtual currencies. This is because it is much cheaper compared to most financial products.”
CBN To Partner With MTN To Increase Adoption
In their defense, the banks believe the eNaira would be detrimental to their operations. However, the bank said it is only trying to promote financial inclusion. Also, it wants to reduce the charges of transactions for the citizens.
According to reports, it plans to partner with MTN, a telecommunication giant. This will allow unbanked citizens to access mobile banking on their devices using USSD.
The governor believes this access to the eNaira would help to trigger adoption. Also, Emefiele said the CBN has been in contact with MTN. It would publish a launch date for the service.
Presently, only those with a bank account can access the CBDC. The governor plans to change this. Meanwhile, Nigeria is the first country in Africa to launch a CBDC.
The CBN launched the CBDC last October in partnership with a fintech firm, Bitt Inc. After the release, the CBN developed a mobile app to onboard users. This app is available on Android and Apple devices.