The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has called on Nigerians to embrace alternative payment channels in line with its cashless policy. The apex bank has urged citizens to use eNaira, USSD, and other internet banking facilities as the country moves towards an alternative payments policy regime, which is the trend all over the world.
Dr Abdulmumin Isa, the Acting Director of the Corporate Communications Department at CBN, made the call during CBN’s Special Day at the 34th Enugu International Trade Fair on Friday in Enugu. He added that Nigeria could not afford to be left behind in the global financial ecosystem but rather needed to embrace digital payment channels.
Mr Imoh Esu, the Assistant Director of the Communication Department at CBN, represented Abdulmumin during the event. He said that CBN had continued to seek creative ways to ensure that Nigeria took full advantage of opportunities and benefits of digital payment channels. This led to the launch of the eNaira in October 2021 aimed at broadening the payment possibilities of Nigerians and fostering digital financial inclusion, with potential for fast-tracking inter-governmental and social transfers.
CBN has also recently launched the National Domestic Card Scheme in collaboration with the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) – the first of its kind in Africa. This move is expected to lower operating costs for banks and reduce the huge foreign exchange costs associated with operating foreign card schemes.
Abdulmumin reiterated that the policy of redesigning some denominations of the naira, which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, was in the overall interest of the country and the economy. The policy also aligns with international best practices. He further stated that the policy has started strengthening macroeconomic fundamentals, moderating inflation, and upscaling the financial inclusion rate. It has also led to relative stability in the exchange rate and supported the efforts of security agencies in combating banditry and ransom-taking in the country.
In his welcome address, the President of the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Mr Jasper Nduagwuike, lauded the various intervention schemes of CBN in supporting and encouraging the growth of businesses in various sectors of the economy. However, he urged CBN to fine-tune policy measures to save indigenous businesses and the industrial sectors. Nduagwuike stated that the chamber was worried that the recent increase in the interest rate by the apex bank to 18% would have an adverse effect on accessing credit from banks.
In conclusion, CBN’s call for Nigerians to embrace alternative payment channels is a step towards aligning the country with global trends. The eNaira and other digital payment channels offer convenience and faster transaction times, which are essential in today’s fast-paced world. The launch of the National Domestic Card Scheme is a commendable effort that will save banks operating costs and reduce foreign exchange costs. Overall, CBN’s policies have started strengthening macroeconomic fundamentals, moderating inflation, and upscaling the financial inclusion rate. However, there is a need to fine-tune these policies to save indigenous businesses and the industrial sectors, as expressed by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.