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CBN and “endless possibilities” of its eNaira



Central Banks across the world have the mandate to control the circulation and supply of currencies, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is not an exception.

But the phenomenal rise in popularity of all forms of digital currencies, like crypto in recent times posed a threat to the authority, control and power of Central banks over the circulation of currency.

Over the years, bitcoin, ether, dogcoin, and many other cryptocurrencies had become strong attractions to people, mostly youths across the globe.

Also read: Money Laundering: CBN opposes new laws

The popularity and wide acceptance of cryptocurrencies stemmed from the high returns that they seemed to attract over a short period of investment.

However, over time, it became clear that cryptocurrencies were susceptible to certain financial vulnerabilities and abuse.

This informed the initiative of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) by financial regulatory bodies across countries.

The Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) announced a ban on crypro currency transaction within the Nigerian banking system in February, 2021, while revealing plans to float its own CBDC, the eNaira.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, had explained that cryptocurrencies promoted the risk of loss of investment, money laundering, terrorism financing, illicit funds flows and other criminal activities.

Emefiele announced the introduction of the eNaira, which was eventually launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2021.

The apex bank described eNaira as the Nigerian digital currency that is issued and regulated by it.

“Its functionality delivers speedy, safe, and simple trading and transactional opportunities to customers and end-users,” CBN stated.

It disclosed that all transactions conducted on the newly-launched digital currency platform would be free for 90 days.

The CBN also said that Ministries, Departments and Agencies could make payments and collect revenues using the eNaira wallet.

According to Emefiele, the eNaira would open up a whole new market of digital currency users for financial institutions to increase their customer base and add value to their account owners.

He assured financial institutions in the country that eNaira was not a subtle scheme to take away bank customers.

He said the plan was to grant access to more financially excluded people.

“The framework of eNaira is such that it entrenches many pipelines of collaboration and further strengthens financial institutions core service delivery.

“By its very nature with regards to its mandates, eNaira enhances the structures of these institutions instead of replacing same.

“It opens up a whole new market of digital currency users for financial institutions to increase their customer base and add value to their account owners,” he said.

During the launch in Abuja, the CBN governor announced that 33 banks were fully integrated and lives on the eNaira platform.

“Since the eNaira platform went live, there has been overwhelming interest and encouraging response from Nigerians and other parties across the world with over 2.5 million daily visits to the website.

” N500 million has been successfully minted by the CBN, N200m has been issued to financial institutions, over 2,000 customers have been onboarded and over 120 merchants have successfully registered on the eNaira platform,” he said.

President Buhari said that the e-currency would help increase remittances, foster cross-border trade, improve financial inclusion, make monetary policy more effective, and enable the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific welfare programmes.

According to him, the digital currency would help move many more people and businesses from the informal into the formal sector, thereby increasing the country’s tax base.

“In recent times, the use of physical cash in conducting business and making payments has been on the decline.

“This trend has been exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence of a new digital economy.

“Alongside these developments, businesses, households, and other economic agents have sought for new means of making payments in the new circumstances,” he said

Meanwhile, economic and financial experts have said that the eNaira would not change or affect the value of the Naira in the foreign exchange market.

They also expressed concern over the risk of cyber-attacks on the eNaira accounts of Nigerians.

A financial analyst and Senior Lecturer at the Pan Atlantic University, Dr Olalekan Aworinde, said there was a need to do more to sensitise the public on the risks of the CBDC.

He said, “I think that the CBN should be aware of the fact that there is the risk of cyber-attacks with the introduction of the eNaira.

“As a result, the CBN needs to properly educate the masses on how to use the eNaira in a way that would not put their safety and the safety of their funds at risk”.

A Financial Expert and Past President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, urged the CBN to consider the impact eNaira might have on the economy.

Unegbu advised the CBN to involve stakeholders from CIBN, ICAN, and other professional bodies to ensure that the financial sector does not get affected negatively as a result of the introduction of the digital currency,

Unegbu said, “eNaira is another form of crypto currency which the CBN has banned, and it seems that the apex bank is trying to imitate what it banned.

“There is the need to do thorough research and robust stakeholder engagement, with the CIBN, ICAN, and other relevant professional bodies, and also create adequate sensitisation on the eNaira.

“If you bring out a product which the people cannot understand they will not be able to use it.”

An Economist, Dr Tope Fasua, described the idea of eNaira as a welcome development.

Fasua, who is the Chief Executive Officer of a consulting firm in Abuja, said that the idea of eNaira was commendable because all currencies would eventually become digital over time, adding that the Naira should not be left behind.

He noted that by creating the digital Naira, the apex bank was ensuring that it was not rendered irrelevant in the foreseeable future.

“In actual fact, the Naira is already digital as it is because you can send money through Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) or through electronic transfer without the need to touch cash.

“But with the eNaira, digitalisation is going to a higher level, where we will increase focus on electronic financial transactions, which will come with its own type of innovations and improvements.

“But only those who get on board will benefit from the advantages of the digital currency,’’ he said.

According to Fasua, electronic currencies, like the eNaira, allow central banks to print and manage less physical currencies, thereby saving huge revenue.

“It will benefit the Nigerian economy by saving the huge cost of managing physical cash, and including more Nigerians in the financial sector.

“It will promote financial inclusion, as those who do not have bank accounts can easily key into the eNaira.

“It will also, eventually, help in tracking money laundering and fraud because it is all about the documentation of what people are doing.

“The data that will be generated will enable authorities to do their work better in preventing money laundering and fraud,’’ he said.

Some stakeholders, however, suggested that adequate sensitisation by government would improve the low acceptance level of the digital currency.

Others suggested that government should pave the way by using eNaira to pay for existing welfare programmes.

“The Nigerian government should shift social welfare programmes and NYSC payments to eNaira for a start.

That way, users will spike.

They shouldn’t just expect us to start using it,” one user advised.

They, however, agree that the CBDC was still in its infancy and has a lot of growing to do.


-News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)



Subsidy Removal: Ibadan Deserts Stations, Lagos Shocked, P-Harcourt Watches, NLC-FG Talk Deadlocked



…Nigerians Express Concerns Over Immediate Implementation***

The fuel queue which had created motley crowds of rowdy buyers on Tuesday and the early part of Wednesday in the few dispensing petrol stations, suddenly disappeared in Ibadan, as filling stations changed prices and hiked it to N500 per litre.

A petrol station on the old Ife Road, near the Loyola College, had dispensed fuel earlier at slightly above N200 per litre to grudging customers, until the Station managers received new directives, mandating them to hike their price.

They complied, and momentarily, the queue disappeared, as buyers fled the petrol station. Even those who had claimed that they came into the station with their vehicles on red light, suddenly had enough to drive home.

A correspondent who drove through the city, from Alakia, through Total Garden to the University of Ibadan, observed that more stations hitherto closed for business opened stations, immediately. Only the Bovas had little patronage because buyers could vouchsafe their integrity.

In the meantime, Nigerians have expressed concern over the sudden implementation of subsidy removal in spite of President Bola Tinubu’s assurance that it would not take effect immediately.

In Lagos, it was a matter of shock for buyers as the new price came up. 

On the Ogudu – Toll Gate- Berger axis, Commuters, particularly those on the Inter-State trips, expressed bewilderment, and started slashing whatever litres they had planned to buy.

Some drivers threatened to go back to their Parks, even as several passengers cough out additional fares.

The story from Port Harcourt, was however that shocked buyers simply watched, helplessly. (See video).

A cross section of residents of Ibadan, Oyo State, however expressed their feelings on Wednesday in separate interviews in Ibadan. 

An Entredepreneur, Mr Tobi Adeyemi, said the development was not a good one.

According to Adeyemi, the new administration should have provided some sort of respite for Nigerians considering the enormous hardship being faced by Nigerians.

“This will definitely affect prices of goods and services; from tomatoes sellers to foodstuffs; transportation, increase in fuel price and so on.

“We will all bear the brunt of it together. I only pity salary earners who are on a fixed income. Besides, I don’t believe this is the right timing,” Adeyemi said.

Also, a sales representative, Dr Adeyinka Adekunle, said the previous administration had budgeted for subsidy till the end of June.

“So, to me it was shocking to learn that the removal had taken effect from May 31 based on what the previous administration had done.

“Everything is sort of confusing now because of the budgetary provision for subsidy till June end,” Adekunle said.

He however, said a nation that was going to be great has to go through some teething periods.

In his remarks, an artisan, Mr Akinola Akinkunmi, said he has yet to comprehend the situation, because things were hard already and buying fuel at N500 per litre now would worsen the situation.

Akinkunmi said: “I cannot yet wrap my mind around how my business will survive; we are already struggling to make ends meet.

“With this development and absence of power supply from the distributing company, we are definitely going further down the poverty line.

“We need support from the government; we need help to survive this time,” Akinkunmi said.

Another entrepreneur, Mr Demola Adedeji, said the timing was not right as the economy had been in bad shape for some time now.

“At least, some things should have been put in place before the total removal of subsidy,” Adedeji said.

In his contributions, Mr Yinka Ajadi, a businessman, said that many people would go into depression as blood pressure of many Nigerians struggling to survive the situation would rise.

Ajadi said, “We can only hope for critical intervention at this time such as solving the problem of power and production inputs.”

Meanwhile, the orchestrated meeting between the Federal Government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over subsidy removal has reportedly ended in a stalemate.

The Maritime First learnt that the meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday failed to attract any reasonable conclusion, as parties across the divide stuck to their guns.

It was further gathered that while the Organised Labour was represented by NLC National President, Joe Ajaero, and the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Festus Osifo, and other top labour party notchers.

The Federal Government was however represented by people who included the former labour leader and former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, President Bola Tinubu’s spokesman, Dele Alake, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited Mele Kyari, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.

Specifically, the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero reportedly criticised the Federal Government, stressing the need to revert to the status quo ante,  because the government failed to either negotiate or protect the Nigerian workers’ interest, before yanking off the subsidy.

The Federal Government on the other hand had argued that the labour had all the time in the world to negotiate with the Buhari government and therefore lacked the moral rights to talk of negotiations now.

The Organised labour therefore said it was going to throw the inconclusive results of their meeting to the Congress whose decision would be final, a euphemism for a nationwide strike.

Consequently, Government representatives called for a rescheduled meeting in a bid to enable further discussions or negotiations.

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Fuel Subsidy Removal: Don Predicts Reduction In Fuel Price



Prof. AbdulGafar Ijaiya of the Department of Economics, University of Ilorin, has expressed optimism at President Bola Tinubu’s inaugural remarks on the removal of fuel subsidies, saying this may reduce prices at the long run.

Ijaiya, who spoke on Monday in Ilorin, observed that with commitment from the Federal Government in revamping existing refineries alongside Dangote refineries, will increase the availability of petroleum products.

The expert who however explained that though such effect may not be felt immediately, noted that the present pump price is about N200, depending on filling stations across the country.

He questioned if the present fuel price at about N200 was as a result of the subsidy removal, adding that if it is not, then fuel may likely increase with about 50 per cent rate after the removal.

“But the thing is that very soon, what has gone wrong with the refineries will be corrected and Dangote refineries will commence by July/August,” he said.

Ijaiya, who teaches in the Faculty of Social Sciences of the university, pointed out that in the beginning there might be an increase in the prices of foods and services.

He however asserted that in a society like Nigeria where people are used to hike in prices, it would not mean much to the citizens.

“By Economics principle, we have adjusted our expenditure profile consumption to particular items. We have moved from consuming luxury and unnecessary items to necessary items.

“This means people go for what is necessary and do away with those that are not,” he said.

Ijaiya affirmed that in the long run, the fuel pump price will adjust downward and there would be more supply of the products.

He further added that when there are more supply of a particular product in the market, it will automatically reduce the price.

“If we have enough supply, with time and there are no other man-made distortion that has to do with our behaviour, I see us buying it between N80 and N100 per litre,” he predicted.

The economist also foresee filling station advertising and competing for sales, saying it will be good for the nation.

He, however, cautioned that “we are in an uncertain world”, but maintained that fuel subsidy removal would be good for the country eventually as only a minority are benefiting from it.

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NNPC Ltd, OML 130 Partners Conclude Lease Renewal Process  



The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 130 Partners have closed out the lease renewal process for OML 130 to unlock additional value from the Asset for stakeholders.

The NNPC Limited announced the renewal of the OML 130 Production Sharing Contract (PSC) and conversion of the acreage to a Petroleum Mining Lease (PML), in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 provisions on Thursday.

During the ceremony which was presided over by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Amb. Gabriel Aduda, five agreements were executed.

The NNPC Ltd management, in a statement, listed the agreements to include the PSC between NNPC Ltd and its Contractors, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO) with Total Upstream Nigeria (TUPNI) as the operator.

The agreements include a Heads of Agreement (HoA) Amendment involving NNPC Ltd, TUPNI, SAPETRO, PRIME 130, and CNOOC and a Settlement Repayment Agreement (SRA) Addendum between NNPC and its Contractors (CNOOC and SAPETRO).

Others are Concession Contracts for one Petroleum Prospecting Licence (PPL) and three PMLs and Lease and License Instruments between NNPC, TUPNI, SAPETRO, PRIME 130, and Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

The NNPC Ltd said the milestone would pave the way to firm up Final Investment Decision (FID) on the Preowei, amounting to US$2.1 billion.

This will subsequently be followed by Egina South projects lined up by TUPNI and the OML 130 partners to introduce additional volumes to the best-in-class Egina Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Vessel,’’ the company said.

Stakeholders in attendance at the signing ceremony were the NNPC Ltd Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Malam Mele Kyari, the Chief Upstream Investment Officer (CUIO), and Mr Bala Wunti, Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan.

The event also had in attendance the NUPRC Chief Executive, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, Managing Directors of TotalEnergies in Nigeria and CNOOC, Mr. Mike Sangstar, and Mr. Li Chunsheng, among others.

OML 130 is in the deep water Niger Delta, 130 kilometres offshore. The block contains the producing Akpo and Egina fields and the Preowei discovery.

To date, the Akpo field, via the Akpo FPSO, has produced over 646 million barrels of Condensate, while the Egina field, via the Egina FPSO, has produced over 233 million barrels of Crude Oil.

So far, about 1.6 Trillion cubic feet (TcF) of gas has been commercialised from both fields with an outstanding record of non-zero gas flare.

OML 130, currently producing 170,000 barrels per day, is the largest producer in TotalEnergies’ Nigeria portfolio and amongst the most prolific assets in Nigeria.

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