Despite the huge publicity and ecstasy that accompanied the launch of Nigeria’s digital currency, eNaira, penultimate Monday, by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the state house in Abuja, many Nigerians are yet to come to grips with eNaira. At the launch, President Buhari said the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) could foster economic growth through better economic activities, increase remittances, improve financial inclusion and make monetary policy more effective. The digital currency has two applications – eNaira speed wallet and eNaira merchant wallet, which were launched on the Google Playstore and Apple Store same Monday. A statement on the eNaira website explained the overall function of the currency and its value to Nigeria’s economy. “eNaira is a Central Bank of Nigeria-issued digital currency that provides a unique form of money denominated in Naira. “eNaira serves as both a medium of exchange and a store of value, offering better payment prospects in retail transactions when compared to cash payments,” the statement read in part. Poor awareness, affordability of smartphone and fear of fraudsters appear to have slowed down the adoption of eNaira. NETA NWOSU, Editor, speaks with NIK OGBULIE, Publisher/Executive Editor of MONEYReport Magazine on eNaira, its benefits and application. Excerpts
What is eNaira? The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said eNaira is a digital currency. What makes it different from the digital/eNaira transactions we carry out on a daily basis?
In the first place, it is good to note that the CBN has been eager to close the vacuum it created when it came out to discourage Nigerians from patronising cryptocurrency as digital money. Because cryptocurrency dealers cannot be identified in case of losses and frauds, it created eNAIRA as our digital money which carries better advantages and lesser ills. Now, eNAIRA is like cash and may be better than cash because it cannot be stolen. It is cash because it can do all things cash does. It is better than cash because you can use the e wallet which is created in your phone for savings.
What kind of transactions can be undertaken with eNaira?
eNAIRA can be used to do a lot of transactions even when you are far away. All you need is to have your details in the app you created and begin a transaction with others that have wallets in apps already created. You can only transact with smartphone. It is not done with a less sensitive phone because of security issues. You can only transact or send money to a wallet holder on site. Anybody who is not on site is excluded and cannot reach you.
How can one access eNaira? Will it be vulnerable to hackers and thieves?
You can get an eNAIRA with the assistance of banks and not agents but you can transact from an agent who has a wallet. The token banks give you after getting a wallet cannot be used by another and can resist access from fraudsters. Every time you make a payment with it, your token is randomly generated. This money is now your digital money and it cannot be faked. It is like you are transacting with a CBN stamp.
What are the unique benefits of eNaira?
It offers the holders very huge speed; it is very safe; it is handled peer to peer; it does not yield any interest and you are not charged interests or service costs for using it. It is free of all charges. The app is on Google play or App store of any smartphone. It will soon be used for transactions like the POS but the difference is that it’s electronic banking. You can use it as well as using your cash. Kindly ask your bank if you want cash in your wallet.
Are there other unique values of eNaira?
The main reasons for eNAIRA is that it will offer you the possibility of doing transaction anywhere you are with any person. What it means is that if many people have eNAIRA you can do so many transactions from your home. It can make everybody ready to do business any time. It will increase the value of the money in your pocket because it incurs no losses. It encourages saving because your money is always in the bank even if it is in your wallet unlike the cash in your hand that can be spent anyhow. Your phone is also a bank. It is not just for transfers any longer. It is another way of reducing costs of transactions. It is a way of discouraging people from making the wrong use of electronic banking. It is another way of giving you the opportunity of going about with your own bank. It’s personal bank because when you load your wallet you take control of it. When you do ATM or transfer you are charged money but you pay nothing for transacting with eNaira.