98.5% of eNaira Wallets Are Left Unsued – IMF

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The International Monetary Fund has described the public adoption of the eNaira as disappointingly low.

This was contained in a working paper that was released recently by the body and titled ‘Nigeria’s eNaira, One Year After’, where the Bretton Woods institution highlighted how the digital currency fared in its first year.

President Muhammadu Buhari formally unveiled the digital currency at the state house in Abuja on October 25, 2021.

The IMF however said about 98.5 percent of eNaira wallets that were downloaded after the unveiling have been left unused.

While stating that the Central Bank Digital Currency project had yet to move beyond the initial wave of limited adoption, IMF added that the eNaira usage by households and merchants has been slow.

“The retail wallet downloads saw a few weeks of the initial surge before tapering off. More specially, it only took 25 days for the number of downloaded wallets to reach 500,000 units—but going from there to 600,000 units took another 63 days; and to 700,000 units yet another 143 days,” the paper reads.

“As of end-November 2021, the total number of retail eNaira wallets amounted to about 860,000. This is just 0.8 per cent of Nigeria’s active bank accounts.

“Merchant wallet download has reached about 100,000 in end-June, which is about one-eleventh of the number of merchants with Point-of-Sales (POS) terminals—which enables credit or debit card payments.”

The institution further revealed that the downloaded wallets recorded low transactions while some have not been active except for the initial surge it recorded shortly after it was launched.

It added that the average number of eNaira transactions weekly were carried out only by 1.5 percent of downloaded wallets.

“The average number of eNaira transactions since its inception amounts to about 14,000 per week—only 1.5 percent of the number of wallets out there. This means that 98.5 percent of wallets, for any given week, have not been used even once,” the paper further reads.

“The average value of eNaira transactions has been 923 million naira per week—0.0018 percent of the average amount of M3 during this period. The average value per one transaction has been N60,000.”

It added that the eNaira’s potential in financial inclusion requires a strategy to set the right relationship with mobile money, given the former’s potential to either complement or substitute the latter,” the institution said.

“Cost savings from integrating CBDC—as a bridge vehicle—in the remittance process may also be substantial.”

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