The Central Bank of Nigeria has unveiled the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code for its eNaira, indicating that Nigerians without internet-enabled phones can use eNaira for transactions.
The decision by the apex bank to use the USSD as the offline channel for the eNaira was based on an understanding of the unique features of our economy, taking into account the fact that, as of right now, about 50% of adult Nigerians are not bank customers and are therefore not eligible for formal financial services.
The eNaira’s first phase was concentrated on banked customers, while the second phase is on financial inclusion, according to Emefiele, who made this revelation at the grand conclusion of the eNaira Hackathon.
In order to promote financial inclusion and give Nigerians access to unlimited opportunities through financial services, the new code *997# was introduced.
What the CBN is saying
Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, represented by Folashodun Adenisi-Shonubi, deputy governor of operations, inaugurated the USSD transaction code on Thursday at the eNaira fair 2022, in Kano.
“It captures the slogan ‘same naira, more possibilities’, and designed to positively impact lives of Nigerians, and transform the economy.”
“The eNaira is expected to enhance inclusion, support poverty reduction, enable direct welfare disbursement to citizens, support a resilient payments ecosystem, improve availability and usability of central bank money,” he said.
In addition, it would lower the cost of processing cash and boost the effectiveness of cross-border transfers, according to Emefiele.
He estimates that 35.9% of Nigerians do not have access to formal financial services, and around 45% do not have bank accounts.
However, he claimed that 86 million of Nigeria’s 106 million adults, or nearly 81% are mobile phone owners.
“In addition, there are 150 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria, according to NCC, June 2022.
“Therefore, eNaira seeks to leverage the huge opportunity mobile telecommunication presents, as a distribution channel, for the offering of digital services to the underserved and unbanked population,” he said.