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IMF Ranks eNaira Adoption and Usage Low

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  • 98.5 per cent of eNaira wallets abandoned.
  • 1.5 per cent transaction weekly
  • 0.8 per cent wallets to bank account ratio

CEM REPORT, FINANCE | The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Digital Currency (CBDC) – eNaira, has seen low transactions, while some have not been active except for the initial surge it recorded shortly after it was launched.

The fund said that about 98.5 per cent of eNaira wallets downloaded after the unveiling of the digital currency have been abandoned.

The IMF in a report recently released titled ‘Nigeria’s eNaira, One Year After’, noted that the average number of eNaira transactions weekly was carried out only by 1.5 per cent of downloaded wallets.

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“The average value of eNaira transactions has been 923 million naira per week—0.0018 per cent of the average amount of M3 during this period. The average value per transaction has been N60,000.”

Furthermore, the report stated that about 98.5 per cent of eNaira wallets downloaded after the unveiling had been left unused, noting that the CBDC project has not moved beyond the initial wave of limited adoption.

“The average number of eNaira transactions since its inception amounts to about 14,000 per week—only 1.5 per cent of the number of wallets out there. This means that 98.5 per cent of wallets, for any given week, have not been used even once.”

The IMF also stated that the eNaira acceptance is low as the amount of existing bank account to eNaira wallet is at 0.8 per cent

“The retail wallet downloads saw a few weeks of the initial surge before tapering off. More specially, it only took 25 days for the number of downloaded wallets to reach 500,000 units—but going from there to 600,000 units took another 63 days; and to 700,000 units yet another 143 days,” the IMF said.

“As of end-November 2021, the total number of retail eNaira wallets amounted to about 860,000. This is just 0.8 per cent of Nigeria’s active bank accounts. Merchant wallet download has reached about 100,000 in end-June, which is about one-eleventh of the number of merchants with Point-of-Sales (POS) terminals—which enables credit or debit card payments.”

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The fund noted that the eNaira’s potential in financial inclusion requires a strategy to set the right relationship with mobile money, given the former’s potential to either complement or substitute the latter.

“Cost savings from integrating CBDC—as a bridge vehicle—in the remittance process may also be substantial.”

Nigeria is one of only a few countries worldwide to develop an official digital currency.

The eNaira was developed by the fintech company Bitt, which is also behind the creation of CBDC in some East Caribbean countries.

At the launch on 25 October 2021 in Abuja, the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele, said 500 million eNaira ($1.21 million) had already been minted.

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