We Are Ready to Work with Nigeria to Share the e-Naira Experience, Says International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The International Monetary Fund, IMF says it is ready to work with Nigeria to improve its CBDC, the e-Naira.

Since going live in October 2021, close to 500,000 people have downloaded the e-Naira wallet, and nearly $150,000 worth of transactions has been carried out via the wallet.

 The IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department has been involved in the e-Naira rollout process, including by providing reviews of the product design.

However, the IMF has pointed out some of the risks that the pioneering CBDC has to carefully navigate.

These include:

  • Monetary policy implementation
  • Cyber security
  • Operational resilience
  • Financial integrity and stability

The institution has pointed out that e-Naira wallets may be perceived, or even effectively function, as a deposit at the central bank, which may reduce demand for deposits in commercial banks.

IMF notes that Nigeria has applied measures to mitigate the risks as follows:

  • The transfer of funds from bank deposits to e-Naira wallets is subject to daily transactions and balance limits to mitigate risks of diminishing the roles of banks and other financial institutions
  • To prevent illicit activity such as money laundering, the e-Naira has implemented a tiered-identity verification system and applied more stringent controls to relatively less verified users.

For example, for now only people with a bank verification number can open a wallet, but over time, coverage will be expanded to people with registered SIM cards and to those with mobile phones but no ID numbers.

Under the verification system, low-tier categories of holders have tighter transactions and limits even though even the highest tier holders can not hold more than 5 million naira ($12, 200).

The IMF is ready to collaborate with Nigeria on:

  • Data analysis
  • Cross-country studies
  • Sharing the e-Naira experience with other countries
  • Discussing further evolution of the e-Naira including its design, regulatory framework, and other aspects

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