The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is set to introduce the Unstructured Supplementary (USSD) code as part of steps to improve its digital currency.
Deputy Governor of the CBN, Kingsley Obiora, said this at the IMF African Department Speakers Series held virtually on Friday.
The series was focused on “CBDC and Private Digital Payments in Kenya and Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities for Sub-Saharan Africa.”
CBN inaugurated the CBDC, also known as the eNaira, on October 25, 2021, aimed at making financial transactions easier and seamless for every strata of the society.
Mr Obiora said the introduction of the USSD code became necessary to improve financial inclusion in the country and to ensure people without smartphones could still transact on the eNaira platform.
“We have made serious progress in the last seven to eight years because when the current governor resumed in 2014, one of the pillars of his vision was to significantly improve financial inclusion.
“So at the time, we were at 48 per cent of our population within the financial system and given several policies that he conceived and implemented, we are almost at 70 per cent.
“That still leaves us with about 30 per cent of our population out of the financial system and we believe the CBDC can help reduce that number even more.
“A lot of people might not have smartphones but that is essentially the next step of our improvement in the CBDC, to introduce the USSD code, so those that do not have smartphones can still transact,” Mr Obiora said.
The CBN deputy governor said that the barrier to entry on the CBDC platform was low, which made it possible for everyone with a Bank Verification Number (BVN) to be onboarded into the eNaira platform in a few minutes.