Vendors fail to embrace eNaira as downloads stall at 220,000

eNaira Speed Wallet1

The initial enthusiasm that greeted the launch of the eNaira last Monday seems to have waned as the number of downloads has reduced in the last five days, rising from about 180,000 on Tuesday to roughly 220,000.

The PUNCH observed that within 48 hours after the app was launched on the App Store and Google Play, the number of downloads of the eNaira Speed Wallet and the eNaira Merchant Wallet was about 180,000 combined.

However, following a barrage of negative reviews, the eNaira Speed Wallet, which is meant for consumers, was taken down for about a day, upgraded and then restored.

Since the app was returned on Google PlayStore and the App Store, downloads have not risen significantly.

Checks by The PUNCH on Sunday evening showed that the number of downloads of the Speed Wallet on the Google Play Store remained at 100,000 plus for seventh straight day while the eNaira merchant wallet, which is designed for businesses, rose from 10,000 downloads to 50,000 plus downloads on the Google Play Store in five days, bringing the total number of downloads on Android devices to 150,000 plus downloads.

For the Apple devices, the number of downloads for the merchant wallet and speed wallet stood at 70, 150 downloads on Ipad and Iphone devices.

Also, checks by The PUNCH on Sunday showed that many vendors had failed to embrace eNaira transactions despite the fact that banks had set up platforms for such transactions.

A call put through to the customer service phone of online shopping platform, Jumia, revealed that no provision had been made for eNaira payment.

Speaking with The PUNCH on Sunday, a former Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf, said the initial enthusiasm that led to the downloads of eNaira app might have been based on curiosity.

Yusuf, who is the chief executive officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, said, “It is only natural that the initial excitement about the eNaira would have spurred a great deal of interest at inception.  There was also the inquisitive disposition of many people. Sustaining such momentum would require a lot more.

“Citizens need to be convinced about the value proposition of the eNaira initiative. Many are still struggling to understand it and also determine what value it would bring beyond existing payment solutions.”

Yusuf further argued that the issue of trust also needed to be addressed.

He added that many Nigerians might have failed to embrace the eNaira because of the clause by the Central Bank of Nigeria that the apex bank would not bear liability for any issues experienced with the use of the e-currency.

The economist said, “The recent publication by the CBN stating that it would not be liable for any loss suffered through the platform may have had some negative impact on confidence as well.  It could easily be misconstrued by many.

“There were also reports that the platform was disabled momentarily online although it was later restored.  This could have had some credibility effect as well. The CBN also announced that there were some fake eNaira platforms.  All of these could have depressed the initial excitement about the eNaira.”

Attempts to get the comment of the CBN on the development were not successful as calls made to the spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi, were not answered.

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