The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the development of eNaira enhanced services to address challenges faced by unbanked Nigerians.
The initiative enables customers to use the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) code *997*50# to carry out all banking transactions.
Also, customers can fund their eNaira wallets with cash-purchased vouchers like GSM recharge cards or from a funded bank account.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with Chams Mobile Ltd. and Super Agents have developed eNaira enhanced services to address challenges faced by the unbanked and the underserved.
Mr Bayo Akintoye, Founder/ Chief Executive Officer of Bullnet platform, unveiled the innovation at a media parley on Thursday in Lagos.
He said that the service, fully run and powered by the Bullnet platform, was employed to suit the pains felt by Nigerians, given the current scarcity of cash in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) the eNaira, established under the project Giant Initiative, was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in Oct. 2021.
Akintoye said, “The CBN has collaborated with ChamsMobile Ltd., CBN licensed mobile money operator and Super Agents to address challenges faced primarily by the unbanked, the underserved and those on the other side of the digital divide by developing the service known as eNaira enhanced services, where the enaira USSD channel *997*50# can be used to carry out all banking transactions.
“This wallet can be funded directly using this platform with cash purchased vouchers like GSM recharge cards or from a funded bank account using bank cards via the web portal that has been provided or using electronic payments with any authorised agents.
“Users can also transfer eNaira from one wallet to another simply by putting in the recipient’s phone number.
“This service also makes it possible for users to cash out by sending the eNaira directly from their wallets to an ATM and withdrawing the cash equivalent without need of a bank account or bank card
“The users can also send eNaira to a designated account for savings or further transactions.’’
He said the network of banking agents across the country such as the Chamsmobile, Super Agents and other mobile money agents, POS agents among others, would become eNaira extension workers and would be selling vouchers to customers at a profit as well as onboarding new users.
He said they would also be involved in educating the masses about the concept of the CBDC and its benefits and guide users on how to efficiently use the eNaira to suit their purposes and circumstances.
He said they would be instrumental in achieving mass acceptance and quick adoption in the local and remote areas and solving user’s problems.
“For instance, the eNaira extension workers can buy and register SIMs and help customers that don’t have phones already to operate the wallet, even on their phones in case the customers are not able to buy their own phones.
“They can help them to keep physical ledgers for eNaira transactions in places, where there are no mobile services or network,
Akintoye added that the new innovation would allow Nigerians abroad purchase vouchers to fund their wallets and send funds directly to their loved ones who in turn could spend eNaira directly and conveniently no matter their location within Nigeria.
The Bullnet CEO said, “It is expected that Nigerians will proudly associate with this innovation and register to have the eNaira wallet as much as possible. For now, the eNaira is operational only on the 9mobile and MTN network.’’
Mrs Rakiya Mohammed, Director of Information Technology Department, CBN, who commended Bullnet for coming out with a homegrown innovation stressed that the eNaira was introduced to support the traditional banking ecosystem.
“The eNaira which was launched last two years, Oct. 25, 2021, was introduced not to come and replace your traditional banking or financial ecosystem, it was introduced to support what we already have there.
“So, for your electronic payments and cash transactions, the eNaira just came in to create an environment that is more efficient and resilient when you are making transactions.
“I would like to commend the Bullnet for coming out with this innovation, that is talking about the USSD code *997#,’’ she said.
Mohammed, represented by Mr Otaru Abdulkadir, eNaira Project Giant Team, said eNaira was introduced with the mandate of reaching out to the financially excluded, hence, the need to introduce the USSD code.
She said that with Bullnet, CBN was able to find ways where people with limited internet services could fund their eNaira wallet and have a safe wallet.
According to her, it will help to transact without having to go through the difficulties of maybe having cash at hand or having to look for one of those banks out there to transact.
She appealed to the Bullnet team to use all the resources available to them to help in driving fully the adoption of the eNaira.
She also appealed to government agencies and parastatals, business owners and merchants and the like to get onboard the eNaira and make it a platform for all their transactions.
Mohammed stressed that embracing the eNaira would increase the financial literacy for everyone as well as reduce the operational cost for the financial institutions.
Mr Oscar Odogwu, President, Balogun Business Association, who described the innovation as a welcome development, promised his members would key into the laudable innovation.
“It’s a welcome development from the Bullnet; I believe the eNaira will be of help to traders as it will enhance our trade/business and shorten the hassles we are currently going through.
“I believe it will go a long way to improve our business and at the same time, curtail theft because we move around with sums of cash.
“So, we will key into the programme of the government, and we will do our best to sensitize our members on how to use the eNaira.
“I also appeal that the Bullnet should come to our aide because as we all know not all of the traders are literate, but we will do our best to key into the system and help the government and CBN to ensure the cashless policy is sustained,’’ Odogwu said. (NAN)