The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, has revealed that his Ministry, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has registered about 1.6 million beneficiaries of the National Social Investments Programmes (NSIP) on the e-Naira platform.
The National Social Investments Programmes was established by the federal government in 2016 to tackle poverty and hunger across the country
The Permanent Secretary, in a chat with PRNigeria said long before the CBN recently started an aggressive campaign to promote the e-Naira, the Ministry had de-emphasised doling out cash to the beneficiaries of their interventions and embraced digital cash transfer.
He added that after the CBN introduced the e-Naira as a form of digital currency, it approached the Ministry with a proposal to take advantage of it to pay its beneficiaries, adding that so far, the e-Naira has been the biggest discovery of the Ministry since its establishment.
As Nigerians continue to struggle to cope with the series of cashless policies introduced by the CBN, especially the recent naira redesign that has caused massive cash crunch in the system, he urged people to embrace the e-Naira which he said is a novel idea whose time is long overdue.
“When the CBN approached us on this issue of e-Naira, we listened to them and held a series of meetings with them. There were lots of back and forth and arguments and counter arguments, but since we got started, our experience so far has been huge. In fact, I have been asking myself why didn’t this idea of e-Naira come to Nigerians long before now?
“Within a period of one month, we were able to register about 1.6 million of our beneficiaries on the e-Naira platform, and we will do more,” he said.
On the cash crunch in the system, he said: “Nigerians are only complaining about the cashless system because they have not fully embraced the e-Naira but the time will come that everyone will be on it and we will start asking ourselves why didn’t we do this decades earlier?”
According to him, the e-Naira has a lot of advantages, for which Nigerians will be grateful to the CBN when they fully embrace the idea.
Listing some of the advantages, he said “It is easier and cheaper to operate, no bank charges, bottlenecks and intermediaries and unlike commercial banks and no chance of depositors losing their monies since the CBN cannot fold up.”
Meanwhile, in a similar chat with the Economic Confidential, a sister publication of PRNigeria, the CBN’s Director of Information and Technology, Mrs Rakiya Muhammad, said that transacting business with the e-Naira wallet eliminates the network problems that the regular internet banking exposes customers to.
Going forward, she said the apex bank was working on eliminating the conditions of having smartphones and bank accounts before people can take advantage of the e-Naira.
She said that with the collaboration the CBN has with some telecom companies, Nigerians with any kind of phone and with no bank accounts can now use code to enrol on the e-Naira platform.