The eNaira’s public adoption by the Nigerian populace has been deemed ‘disappointingly low’ by the International Monetary Fund.
According to The PUNCH, this was presented in a recently published working paper by the organisation, entitled “Nigeria’s eNaira, One Year After”.
In this report, the Bretton Woods institution provided an assessment of the performance of the digital currency during its initial year of implementation.
Recall that the President, Muhammadu Buhari(retd.) formally unveiled the digital currency at the state house in Abuja on October 25, 2021.
However, according to the IMF, 98.5 percent of eNaira wallets downloaded following the announcement were never utilised.
IMF noted that the Central Bank Digital Currency project had not yet progressed past the initial wave of modest acceptance, but it also noted that household and business eNaira usage had been sluggish.
“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 also disclosed that, aside from the initial surge it experienced soon after it was launched, the downloaded wallets had low transaction counts and some had not been used at all.
It further stated that only 1.5% of downloaded wallets completed the typical weekly number of eNaira transactions.
“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.”
The institution continued, “Given that the former has the potential to either complement or replace the latter, a plan must be established to establish the proper relationship with mobile money in order to maximise the potential of the eNaira for financial inclusion.
“Cost savings from integrating CBDC—as a bridge vehicle—in the remittance process may also be substantial.”