The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday ordered traders and other businesses to accept the country’s digital currency, e-Naira, as a legal tender after its launch next month.
The apex bank will launch the e-Naira on October 1.
The CBN’s Director of Payment System, Musa Jimoh, gave the directive during a programme on Channels Television.
He said: “Today, anywhere you present naira to pay, compulsorily it must be accepted because that is our fiat currency.
“So, the same way naira is accepted that you can’t reject it, is the same way e-Naira must be accepted. Anywhere in this country where e-Naira is presented, it must be accepted. So, merchants must accept e-Naira as a means of payment.”
He stressed that just like the paper note, CBN bears all liabilities for the e-Naira.
The CBN also advised Nigerians to open e-Naira wallets which could be downloaded on mobile phones from October 1.
Jimoh added: “The liability of the e-Naira money is directly on CBN, which is similar to the cash you hold. The liability of the cash you hold today rests with the CBN. So, it gives Nigerians the opportunity to bank with CBN.
“E-Naira is a journey. We don’t expect that on October 1, all businesses and merchants in Nigeria will accept it. We don’t even expect that come October 1, all Nigerians will have e-Naira. It is a journey. It will continue to grow.”
He noted that one of the benefits of the e-Naira was its cost-saving nature.
“Remember there was a time in this country when you had to practically beg business outlets, merchants, and others to accept Point of Sale (POS) transactions. But we have come to a point where traders now beg for POS terminals.
“Today the cost of producing the Naira and coins is very high. It costs money to print Naira in this country. Now, the minting of e-Naira is electronic, so it reduces cost.”
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