The Central Bank Governor Godwin Emfiele remarked that eNaira is a disadvantage to commercial banks especially when depositors move money from their bank accounts to their eNaira wallets.
Godwin Emefiele mentioned this at the question and answer session at the end of the monetary policy communique held on Tuesday, July 19 2022 when he was asked to provide an update on the performance of Africa’s first digital currency.
The remark was an apparent boisterous moment for the CBN Governor who used the opportunity to also outlines several initiatives being made to increase the adoption of the digital currency.
Mr. Emefiele admitted that the eNaira had not performed to expectations and blamed this in part on the lack of awareness of the product among many Nigerians. He also mentioned that the CBN was planning to send its members out to improve the promotion of the eNaira.
What Emefiele said
Commenting on the low adoption of eNaira, he also threw a jab at commercial banks that may not want their customers to move money to their eNaira wallets because it will not be to their advantage.
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“I want to advise you, You may go to your bank, they may be a little bit resistant to you because moving that money from your account into your wallet is a disadvantage to them and I want to say that boldly and bluntly. And again, it is almost costless at least today. So you should tell your bank you want your eNaira to be loaded up in your wallet. It will cost you little or nothing compared to those other products that you have that will cost you more.”
The remark is an apparent jab to banks and fintech whom the governor now admits are in direct competition with the eNaira. The CBN is clearly positioning the eNaira as a cheap alternative for the unbanked to deposit their money and also use as a cheaper payment transaction medium.
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“I will say very bluntly, I am a banker myself, there is apathy by them because they know they will lose some income, so you should insist on using your wallet to do your transactions.”
Emefiele’s remark may no go down well with critics of the eNaira especially those in the banking sector who have spoken to Nairametrics anonymously about the digital currency.
- Some worry that the CBN is pushing a product that is in direct competition with their own applications even though it is in the same vein as their regulator. The conflict of interest question therefore arises.
- However, sources in the CBN insist it is all about achieving the aim of financial inclusion, which is to serve the unbanked as well as reduce the cost of financial transactions.
- Emefiele also mentioned that they are concluding with MTN to target the unbanked population via a USSD Code *997## to transfer money to their wallet. This will give them wider access to the unbanked whom the product is targeted at.