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UNILORIN VC advocates usage of eNaira abroad

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Wahab Egbewole SAN


The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Wahab Olasupo Egbewole, SAN, has admonished the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make the eNaira policy accessible and efficient for Nigerians outside the country to facilitate the settlement of their international transactions.

Egbewole stated when he received members of a delegation from the Central Bank of Nigeria and Zenith Bank Plc, who visited him ahead of their interactive session, tagged “Road map to eNaira: An initiative of CBN in partnership with Zenith Bank”, with the new students of the University.

The Vice Chancellor observed that Nigerians who travel abroad find it difficult to spend or use any Nigeria account anywhere in the world, which is not a palatable experience.

The Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law, however, admonished the CBN to see how the eNaira policy will be acceptable and useful outside the shores of Nigeria, saying that this is one of the so many ways to make a statement in the community of nations.

While welcoming the eNaira initiative for accommodating offline transactions for the sake of unbanked Nigerians, Prof. Egbewole lamented that it is sad to see people from less developed countries using their bank cards outside their territory while Nigerians from a better and bigger economy remain stranded.

The interactive session that involved the Principal Officers of the University and the officials of the CBN lasted two days with various officials presenting their data to convince the management of the University of Ilorin to accept and adopt the platform.

In his presentation, the Project Manager of eNaira in the CBN, Mr Fadele Adeolu, said the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) recently adjudged the CBN’s Digital Currency (CBDC) as the best retail project indexes of central banks globally in 2022. He said that this shows the level of work done on the policy by the CBN.

He explained that the eNaira came to strengthen and enhance the existing payment channels and does not come to replace or disrupt them.

He added that nothing is changing in the existing currency except the benefit such as payment efficiency, low cost of transactions, and payment transparency that the new policy brought to life.

While making further clarification on how it will benefit the University system, the eNaira Project Manager explained that the CBN team has been engaging with the Accountant General of the Federation and a committee has been set up to look at the TSA.

He said that the committee will soon come up with how government disbursement can be received via the eNaira platform.

Mr Fadele, however, said that the relationship between the University of Ilorin and the CBN is strategic and significant because the University is a research institution and the eNaira idea was a product of research.

Other CBN officials who spoke in the same vein included Mr Izuchukwu Nwama and the acting Branch Controller of CBN in Kwara State, Mr Segun Rotimi Ogbonbolu.

In his contribution, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Abayomi Omotesho, who represented the Vice Chancellor at the second meeting, said if the eNaira payment platform is going to help the University with payment efficiency, improve financial inclusion and act as a means for students to earn some money, then management will support the policy.

He, however, suggested that the eNaira team should start their engagement with the IPPIS and TSA, saying, once that is sorted out, universities in Nigeria won’t have any problem adopting the policy.

Also contributing to the session, the Bursar, Mr Hakeem Sonde, said the Central Bank of Nigeria is an agency of the Federal Government while the eNaira policy is believed to be FG’s policy as well. He stated that the University of Ilorin being an institution of the Federal Government will support any policy initiative of the Federal Government.

The Bursar said there are a lot of misconceptions among members of the public that the CBN needs to work on if they want the policy to be accepted by the Nigerian ecosystem. For instance, he said, the CBN team needs to explain in clear terms to the common man on the street whether having the wallet means one is closing down all his bank accounts domiciled in other banks. He added that if all misconceptions are cleared and the safety of the money is guaranteed, Nigerians will be willing to support the policy.

Other University officials at the meeting include the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Sulyman Ambali; the Registrar, Dr. Fola Olowoleni; the University Librarian, Dr. Kamaldeen Omopupa; the Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. M. T. Yakubu, the Principal Assistant Registrar, Office of the Vice Chancellor, Mrs Azeezat Ibrahim, and the Students’ Union President, Comrade Tobiloba Faaji, among others.

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