By Bassey Udo
To encourage the use of the e-Naira in business transactions across Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved a reward scheme for merchants and other users of the payment platform.
The e-Naira is the digital representation of Nigeria’s legal tender (fiat) currency-the “Naira” introduced in the economy following the unveiling of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2021 to compliment the existing forms of CBN-issued currencies.
The Deputy Governor (Economic Policies) of the CBN, Kingsley Obiora, who spoke on Saturday at the mega e-Naira event organized by the CBN in collaboration with Araba Technologies Ltd, PNAIL and ACCI for the Nigerian business community, said the scheme would provide incentives to boost e-Naira usage.
The reward scheme, he said, includes providing merchants with the required promotional (marketing) materials, subsidising the current Merchant Service Charge by 50 percent and activation of a nationwide sensitization, which early business adopters of eNaira, could leverage on to market its wider adoption.
Other ways to encourage the use of the e-Naira platform to facilitate payments include using QR Codes, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), Wallet ID and e-Naira Wallet tag.
Also, value added services on the e-Naira platform includes branch/sub wallets, employee management (roles and permissions) as well as interoperability with other enterprise applications.
Obiora, who listed the benefits of the e-Naira, said apart from serving as both a store of value and a medium of exchange, the e- Naira also offers an improved efficiency in Nigeria’s payment ecosystem.
Consequently, he urged merchants and other categories of businesses to embrace the e-Naira as the ideal payment instrument for all their transactions due to its benefits.
“With the e-Naira, the CBN seeks to enable businesses and households across and outside the country to make fast, efficient, and reliable payments. The eNaira platform is resilient, innovative and offers an inclusive payment system.
“Some of the expected benefits arising from the adoption of the eNaira include deepening financial inclusion; improvement in the efficiency of the payments system; enhancement of cross-border payments and remittances; Improved trade integration; a viable option for the distribution of stimulus and government interventions and improved transmisSion of monetary policy,” he said.
Obiora, who represented the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele Godwin Emefiele, said the event was initiated to drive the adoption of the e-Naira by merchants and other key stakeholders in conducting transactions across Nigeria.
He expressed delight over the effort by Arabatech, PNAIL and the ACCI to partner with the CBN in adopting the e-Naira, recalling that the adoption of the digital currency was estimated to raise Nigeria’s GDP by $29 billion over the next 10 years.
The event, he noted, was seeking to bring together regulators, partners, merchants and other key stakeholders to further deepen the adoption of the eNaira, to enhance Nigeria’s quest for economic development supported by a world-class payment system infrastructure.
He gave the assurance that the CBN would continue to innovate and upgrade the eNaira platform to serve businesses and deepen the digital economy in the country.
Apart from already partnering with Fintechs, he said the CBN has established a Help Desk to support merchants and other users to ensure a seamless adoption of the eNaira.
The CBN deputy governor said with e-Naira, merchants such as petrol stations, supermarkets, e-Commerce and other businesses would not only have roles to play in driving its adoption, but could also leverage on the opportunities offered to improve cash management and make significant savings in operating cost.
Specifically, he said the merchants would benefit from reduced cash handling costs, elimination of failed transactions, instant settlement, increased speed of transactions, improvement in records keeping and elimination of challenges associated with giving change to customers, amongst others.
In terms of opportunities for increasing business income, Obiora said the adoption of the e-Naira payment option on e-Commerce merchant platform such as Remita would complement the existing digital payment system, translating to about 50 percent increment in e-commerce transactions and at a lower cost.
Also, he said the implementation of cross-border transactions in the third phase of the eNaira project would increase cross-border trade by about 30 percent.
Besides, he said lower transaction cost would increase transaction volume and value through the use of e-Naira, while improving income generation by businesses.
To provide a secure environment for the eNaira platform, the CBN said it deployed a secure security protocol, with other innovative services expected to be rolled out in collaboration with financial institutions and Fintechs leveraging on the e-Naira technology.
The President of ACCI, Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, said the eNaira project, which is part of the digital financial inclusion programme of the CBN, if embraced, would help eradicate many issues surrounding cash transactions.
Abubakar said the event was targeted at merchants, traders, cooperative societies, business association, supermarket, hotels, restaurant chains, service providers, private school owners, transporters, Small and Medium Business Enterprises, amongst others, to help them understand the importance of the eNaira.
He observed that despite the high expectations about the CBN digital currency, the eNaira, the business community was yet to fully embrace it, with major retailers and vendors in the country yet to adopt it more than 10 months since it was unveiled.
Identifying the benefits of the e-Naira for the business community to include speedy delivery, safe, and simple trading and transactional opportunities to customers and end-users, Abubakar urged merchants to embrace the the e-Naira.