The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mandated all merchants and business outlets to accept e-Naira as a viable means of payment when its launched in October 1.
Speaking ‘Business Morning’ programme on Channels Television on Monday, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Director, Payment System Management, Musa Jimoh, said the digital currency is a legal tender equal to the value of the naira and must be accepted as a form of payment.
Jimoh said, “Today, anywhere you present naira to pay, compulsorily it must be accepted because that is our fiat currency. So, the same way naira is accepted that you can’t reject it, is the same way e-naira must be accepted. Anywhere in this country where e-naira is presented, it must be accepted. So, merchants must accept e-naira as a means of payment.”
He disclosed that e-naira wallets could be downloaded on phones from October 1, adding that the apex bank bears all liabilities relating to the transactions.
According to Jimoh, the liability of the e-naira money is directly on CBN which is similar to the cash people hold.
He disclosed that “E-naira is a journey. We don’t expect that on October 1, all business merchants in Nigeria will accept it. We don’t even expect that come October 1, all Nigerians will have e-naira. It is a journey. It will continue to grow.
“Remember there was a time in this country when you had to practically beg business outlets, merchants and others to accept POS transactions. But we have come to a point where traders now beg for POS terminals.”
The benefits of e-naira, he said, include saving the cost of printing more notes.
“Today the cost of producing the naira and coins is very high. It costs money to print naira in this country. Now, the minting of e-naira is electronic so it reduces cost,” Jimoh stated.
He added that charges of transferring funds would be lower for those using the e-naira.
On why the CBN chose a foreign firm instead of a Financial Technology company in Nigeria, Jimoh said it had to do with capacity.
He said Bitt Inc which will handle the project, had done similar projects for other countries and already had the capacity and experience.