Friday, July 23, 2021 / 11:47 AM / by James Emejo of ThisDay Newspaper / Header Image
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday disclosed
that its much-anticipated digital currency will be launched on October 1.
CBN Director, IT Department, Mrs. Rakiya Mohammed,
revealed this during a private webinar, explaining that the banking sector regulator
had been conducting research towards the launch of digital currencies since
She added that the central bank may conduct a proof of
concept before the end of the year.
The move to adopt the electronic currency was first
disclosed by the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, during the Monetary Policy
Committee (MPC) in May.
He had said a digital currency will soon become a
reality in the country, adding that the central bank had already set up its
committee which was working on the concept.
The CBN governor had further restated the
determination of the apex bank to drive the e-Naira project during the recent
306th Banker's Committee meeting, pointing out that the process was ongoing.
Mohammed was quoted by Nairametrics to have
highlighted the benefits of the digital currency, saying it would enhance
macroeconomic management, boost economic growth, facilitate cross border trade,
boost financial inclusion and monetary policy effectiveness.
Mohammed said the digital payment instrument would
further improve payment efficiency, revenue tax collection, remittance
improvement, and targeted social intervention.
She added that 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 complimenting the traditional payment system.
Mohammed had last month said the proposed digital
would be launched before December.
According to her, every Nigerian would have access to
the digital currency.
She had while briefing journalists at the end of a
Bankers' Committee meeting 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 access all the risks as we continue
on this journey.
"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
According to her, about 80 percent of central banks
across the world are presently exploring the possibility of issuing the central
bank's digital currency, saying that Nigeria cannot be left behind.
Mohammed had added: "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.
"Now, why did we need to go into this? There are
different cases that the central bank is looking at.
For instance, we have remittances, which is a huge
market in Africa. We also know that in the last EFInA report, our target for
this year was to achieve 80 percent financial inclusion. We are about 60 percent and at the rate we are going, it is unlikely we would meet this target.
But the central bank digital currency would accelerate this target".
She said it would support the cashless policy as well
as innovation, adding that the central bank has a "very clear roadmap on this
and we are about to move to the next stage of proof of consent after which we
would start a pilot".
The post CBN
Targets October for Digital Currency Launch first appeared in Thisdaylive.com on July 23, 2021.
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