Amid failed naira redesign policy, CBN begs Nigerians to embrace e-naira transactions
April 28, 2023 Fausiat Salako-Sanni
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has called on Nigerians to embrace the nation’s digital payment channel (eNaira) to enhance its cashless policy.
Its eNaira team which embarked on awareness and sensitization campaign to Kawo and other markets in Kaduna, and Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, assured the public that the electronic legal tender would complement cash and make transactions easier.
Deputy Director, Mohammed Hamisu Musa, told journalists after meeting with Kawo traders at the District Head’s office in Kaduna that the time has come for all Nigerians to key into the e Naira wallet because of its numerous advantages.
“I am part of the e-Naira team; we are here on e-Naira awareness and sensitization mission in Kawo market.
“We are working with partners to go into the nooks and crannies. We are also working with community leaders, we are with the District Head of Kawo to also get his support to see how we can push the message far into the community, as possible.”
“The message is to preach the e Naira. E Naira is nothing but another representation of cash, the same Naira we are used to; is what e Naira is coming to complement.”
“E Naira is trying to complement the cash as well as trying to address the well-known issues we usually have with cash such as robbery, insecurity issues .You could lose your money through fire incident and so many other ways.”
“So the electronic version was brought out by the Central Bank to address all these kind of issues as well as enhance transaction. It can allow people to do their transactions in an easier and better way. Better than even using the physical cash,” he said.
The CBN e-Naira team was also at the Sheikh Gumi Central market Kaduna where they sensitized traders on the advantages of the e Naira, and entertained questions on the workings of the electronic legal tender as introduced by the apex bank in Nigeria.
The apex bank’s Port Harcourt Branch Controller, Maxwell Okoroafor, also spoke at a sensitisation workshop in Port Harcourt.
The workshop, jointly organized by CBN and Zenith Bank, was themed: “Road Map to eNaira Adoption: Understanding the Workability of the E-Naira and its Implications on the Cashless policy.”
Okoroafor said the workshop was aimed at providing important information about eNaira for students and lecturers of University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) and Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE).
“The eNaira is an alternative means of financial transaction to cash and is designed to make transactions stress-free as well as improve the nation’s economy.
“It is cheap and comes with a lot of benefits to Nigerians in tackling financial crime, money laundering and also gives visibility for monetary policies in the country.
“It will also be beneficial to the institutions in the area of payment of fees while also helping them to reduce the cost of policy management,” he said.
However, there are concerns that Nigerians will not generally accept the e-naira transaction going by the hardship faced during the recent cash crunch occasioned by the naira redesign policy of the apex bank.
Recall that the Naira redesign policy, led by Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, was implemented on February 10, 2023, to reduce the currency in circulation.
The implementation led to the CBN phasing out the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes. They were replaced with newly redesigned banknotes, however, the apex bank printed insufficient currencies, resulting in Naira scarcity.
The cash crunch led to many depending on digital channels of payment, however, the electronic payment platforms of commercial banks crashed on several occasions, as the payment channels couldn’t withstand the sudden migration and traffic.
Consequently, State governors filed a lawsuit against the Federal Government to force the CBN to suspend the policy. The Supreme Court ruled on March 3, stating that the policy infringed on the rights of Nigerians, and the old Naira notes remained legal till December 31, 2023.
Observants said for the apex bank to have Nigerians in the markets and others there is a need to allay the fear faced while transacting online during the recent cash crunch.