The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plan to launch its digital currency before end of 2021.
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 Thursday’s Bankers’ Committee Meeting, where it also assured of adequate foreign exchange supply to meet all legitimate transactions through Deposit Money Banks.
CBN’s Director of Information 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, 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 through the banks.
Intervention Funds access
Meanwhile, the CBN flagged off a two days fair aimed at easing applicants’ access to credit in the intervention funds of the federal government floated by the apex bank.
The fair themed: “Promoting financial stability and economic development”, holding in Lagos and Abeokuta was designed as a platform to interact with significant stakeholders to explain some of the bank’s policies, interventions, initiatives and elicit responses from them and to assess the questions and issues raised to refine bank’s policies or interventions on problems.
Speaking at the fair, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, represented by Assistant Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, said: “What we want to do with the CBN fair is to create a platform to interact with our significant stakeholders to explain some of our policies, our interventions, our initiatives and elicit responses from them. Take questions back as those questions and issues that they will raise, one will help us to refine policies or interventions on problems.
“For us, it is a means of monitoring our policies and a means of evaluating our progress and a means of looking at whether what we are doing is actually impactful to the Nigerian public. CBN is getting into some of these interventions because of the failure of the markets.”