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Lenders Are Thwarting Digital Currency’s Adoption in Nigeria - BLOOMBERG

JULY 19, 2022

  • Low cost e-naira may curb mobile banking income for lenders
  • Central bank to partner MTN Nigeria to improve e-Naira usage


(Bloomberg) -- Nigerian lenders are impeding the use of the nation’s digital currency because they are concerned about losing revenue from traditional banking services, according to central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele.

Only about 700,000 customers have created an e-naira wallets since its introduction in October last year, the central bank said early this year. There are about 55 million bank accounts in Africa’s most populous nation. E-naira-based transactions have also failed to pick up. 

Read: As Currency Gets Weaponized, Central Banks Design Money’s Future

“There is apathy,” at the banks, Emefiele told reporters in Abuja, the nation’s capital, on Tuesday. 

E-naira transactions do not attract any charge unlike transfers or payments done using a bank’s platform or website. Deposits in e-naira wallets also do not count as cash in the lender’s books. The e-naira undermines the investments banks have made in mobile banking services in a bid to boost fee and commission-based income. 

The Central Bank of Nigeria is “almost concluding tests” with MTN Group Ltd.’s Nigeria unit to provide a channel to enable Nigerians without bank accounts to open e-naira wallets, Emefiele said.  Currently, the e-naira wallet is available to only bank customers.


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