LAGOS — The country’s first digital currency, eNaira, must be accepted as a form of payment by all business merchants according to the CBN director of payment system management, Musa Jimoh.
According to him, the digital currency is similar to the fiat currency (naira) and the CBN bears all liabilities for the eNaira.
Jimoh said this when he featured on Business Morning, a Channels Television programme, on Monday.
He noted that eNaira is a legal tender just as the naira.
“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.
“eNaira 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,” he said.
He noted that one of the benefits of the eNaira is that it would save the cost of printing new naira notes, adding that charges of transferring funds would be lower for those using the e-naira.
“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.
“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.
“The CBN digital currency is not what every country has implemented. We are blazing the trail in Africa. Nigeria is the only country in Africa that is doing it. And so many advanced countries are not doing it.
“You can only talk of China and the Bahamas that have tried to do something serious on central bank digital currency.
“So, the technology is not everywhere you need to be very sure. You cannot use Nigeria as a testing ground and say oh if it works, well, if it doesn’t work. You have to use entities that have done it, that are sure of it.
“What we did is to partner with an entity that has done it, that has that experience because we know that eventually, the system is going to run in Nigeria.
“So, we also want to domicile some responsibilities here. So, the arrangement is such that you are going to have a Nigerian incorporated company, Bitt Nigeria, which will be running the system,” Jimoh said.
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