The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled the *997# USSD code in Kano to reduce the use of cash in commercial activities in the country.
In the event which took place on Thursday, the Deputy Governor Operations of the CBN, Mr. Foladun Shinobi described the unveiling of the code as another milestone in delivering digital financial services to Nigerians and enabling their participation in the global digital economy.
He further explained that the eNaira presents an opportunity to offer Nigerians endless possibilities in using financial services adding that it is captured by the slogan “Same Naira, More Opportunities”.
“Today marks a significant milestone towards achieving the objective of the second phase of the project which is to drive financial inclusion by onboarding unbanked and underserved users leveraging the offline channels.
“Specifically, we are here to launch the eNaira USSD channel using *997# for onboarding and transactions.
“The choice of the USSD as the premium offline channel for the eNaira is founded in an understanding of the peculiarities of our economy.
He further explained the need for the eNaira to be unveiled describing the it in terms of reaching out to 150 million Nigerians that own mobile phones.
“Approximately, 45 per cent of adult Nigerians do not have a bank account while 35.9 per cent are excluded from formal financial services.
“However, around 81 per cent of the adult population in Nigeria (86 million out of 106 million) own mobile phones (EFInA, 2021), in addition, there are about 150 million Mobile Subscribers in Nigeria (NCC, June 2022).
“Therefore, the eNaira seeks to leverage the huge opportunity mobile telecommunications presents as a distribution channel for the offering of digital financial services to the underserved and unbanked population” he stated.