The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plan to launch its digital currency before end of this year. The apex bank has also intensified efforts through awareness fair for easy access to its various intervention fund.
The decision on digital currency was a major outcome of yesterday’s Bankers’ Committee Meeting, where it also assured of adequate foreign exchange supply to meet all legitimate transactions through Deposit Money Banks.
The Director of Information Technology of the apex bank, Mrs. Rakiya Mohammed, along with several banks’ Managing Directors disclosed this via a zoom press briefing after the Bankers’ Committee meeting.
According to her, “officials of CBN have been exploring the digital currency technology for over two years. There are two types of currency, the notes and coins. The CBN digital currency will be a third type of currency. It will supplement the cash. Rather than carry cash about, you have the money in your phone.”
She also explained that the most recent EFInA (Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access) report indicated that the nation was at about 60 per cent in financial inclusion and that with a target of 80 per cent at the end of the year, steps needed to be taken to raise the percentage of the nation’s financial inclusion.
She argued that the proposed CBN digital currency would enhance the inclusion drive and reduce the cost of cash management, while enabling innovations in the nation’s financial market.
Mohammed stated: “The digital currency would be accessible to all Nigerians. Just like everybody has access to cash, everybody will have access to the central bank’s digital currency. 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.”
In her remarks, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, said that CBN assured the bankers’ committee of its readiness to provide sufficient foreign exchange for all those who had genuine need through the banks.