98% eNaira wallets inactive, adoption slow – IMF

98% eNaira wallets inactive, adoption slow – IMF

The International Monetary Fund has disclosed that 98.5 per cent of eNaira wallets have been unused one year after the launch of the central bank digital currency.

This disclosure was contained in a report titled, ‘Nigeria’s eNaira, One Year After.’ Which was published on the IMF’s website.

The report stated that there had been no major risk despite initiate glitches after the launch of the CBDC about a year ago.

Nevertheless, adoption of eNaira by households and merchants has been slow and low, according to the IMF.

On wallet downloads, the IMF noted that the total downloads were about 0.8 per cent of Nigeria’s active bank accounts.

The report read, “The retail wallet downloads saw a few weeks of 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. As of end-November 2021, the total number of retails 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.”

It was also disclosed that transactions were carried out by only 1.5 per cent of downloaded wallets.

“Most wallets appear to remain inactive except for a limited window of weeks of activity surge. The average number of eNaira transactions since its inception amounts to about 14,000 per week—only 1.5 per cent of the number of wallets out there. This means that 98.5 per cent of wallets, for any given week, have not been used even once. The average value of eNaira transaction has been 923 million naira per week—0.0018 per cent of the average amount of M3 during this period. The average value per one transaction has been 60,000 naira,” the IMF noted.

The Fund described the adoption as disappointingly low, falling below expectations in one year of operation.

The report read, “As indicated by the levels of wallet downloads and transactions, the public adoption of the eNaira thus far has been disappointingly low.”

It, however, concluded that it would be still too early to judge the fate of the eNaira project.

In an earlier report, the IMF had said that since its launch in 2021, the usage of the eNaira — Nigeria’s digital currency —refused to pick up.

According to the fund, only about eight per cent of eNaira wallets are in use, with an average transaction value of N53,000.

The Managing Director of the Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, recently cautioned about the unforeseeable “consequences” that could be brought about by the retail central bank digital currencies.

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