Nigeria Digital Currency PhotoCollage: MNaija

Financial Inclusion: CBN plans to launch digital currency October 1

*The Central Bank of Nigeria says its digital currency will enhance financial inclusion that will contribute to economic growth, and creation of a new system complementing the traditional payment system in the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part of its ongoing effort at activating the e-Naira project, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed it targets the launch of its much-anticipated digital currency for October 1, 2021.

Mrs. Rakiya Mohammed, Director of Information Technology Department at CBN, stated this in a webinar, Thursday, July 22, 2021.

ConsumerConnect learnt the Director of Information Technology Department explained that the banking sector regulator in the country had been conducting research with a view to launching of digital currencies since 2017.

Mrs. Mohammed hinted that the Bankers’ Bank may conduct a proof of concept before the end of this year.

Recall Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) May 2021, had noted that Nigeria would adopt the electronic currency.

Emefiele, who said that a digital currency would soon become a reality in the country, said the Central Bank of Nigeria had already set up a committee working on the concept.

According to him, the determination of the CBN to drive the e-Naira project during the recent 306th Banker’s Committee meeting, pointing out that the process was ongoing.

Likewise, Mrs. Mohammed highlighted benefits of the digital currency, which she stated would enhance macroeconomic management, boost economic growth, facilitate cross border trade, boost financial inclusion and monetary policy effectiveness, ThisDay report said.

She as well noted that the digital payment instrument would advance payment efficiency, revenue tax collection, remittance improvement, and targeted social intervention in Nigeria.

The innovation would also benefit the Fintech ecosystem by enhancing operational efficiency, opportunities for Fintech start-ups in building services and products as well as financial inclusion that will contribute to economic growth, and the creation of a new system complementing the traditional payment system in the country.

She was also quoted to have said May, that the proposed digital currency would be launched before December this year.

While briefing reporters at the end of a Bankers’ Committee meeting, Mohammed said: “Let me state categorically that cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin and the rest of them, are not under the control of the Central Bank; they are purely private decisions that individuals make and are not part of this arrangement.

“We have spent over two years studying this concept of central bank’s digital currency and we have identified the risks.

“And it is one of the reasons why I said we are setting up a central governance structure that would involve all industry stakeholders to assess all the risks, as we continue on this journey.”

The CBN Director of Information Technology Department further stated: “Very soon, we would make an announcement on the date for the launch and by the end of the year; we should have the digital currency.”

She noted that about 80 percent of Central Banks across the world are currently exploring the possibility of issuing the central bank’s digital currency, saying that Nigeria cannot be left behind.

“You are aware that we have two forms of fiat money: The notes and the coins.

“So, the Central Bank’s digital currency is the third form of fiat money. So, this digital money is going to complement the cash and note that we have.

“The Central Bank digital currency will just be as good as you having cash in your pocket. So, if you are having the currency in your pocket, you are as good as having cash on your phone,” Mohammed said.

The Director added that every Nigerian consumer would have access to the proposed digital currency.

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