The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plans to introduce an unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) code to improve the adoption of its eNaira.
Kingsley Obiora, CBN deputy governor, said this at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) African Department Speakers Series held virtually on Friday.
The discussion, moderated by Abebe Selassie, director of IMF’s African department, was titled ‘Central Bank Digital Currency and Private Digital Payments in Kenya and Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities for Sub-Saharan Africa.’
Obiora said the barrier to entry on the CBDC platform was low, which made it possible for everyone with a bank verification nmber (BVN) to join the eNaira platform in a few minutes.
He said the introduction of the USSD code is crucial to improve financial inclusion in the country and to ensure people without smartphones could still transact on the eNaira platform.
CBN to introduce USSD code for eNaira transactions
“We have made serious progress in the last seven to eight years because when the current governor resumed in 2014, one of the pillars of his vision was to significantly improve financial inclusion,” the apex bank deputy governor said.
“So at the time, we were at 48 percent of our population within the financial system and given several policies that he conceived and implemented, we are almost at 70 percent.
“That still leaves us with about 30 percent of our population out of the financial system and we believe the CBDC can help reduce that number even more.
“A lot of people might not have smartphones but that is essentially the next step of our improvement in the CBDC, to introduce the USSD code so those that do not have smartphones can still transact.
“Once we are able to introduce the USSD code, you don’t need a smartphone to join the eNaira platform, you can still join easily once you put in your BVN.”