CBN makes U-turn on crpto, to unveil digital naira this year
Away from initial impression against dealing in cryptocurrencies in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plan to launch its own digital currency before end of this year.
The decision on digital currency was a major outcome of Bankers’ Committee Meeting on Thursday where the apex bank also assured of adequate foreign exchange supply to meet all legitimate transactions through Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).
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.”
Recall that during the 279th MPR meeting held May 26th in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele had assured Nigerians that digital currencies will have a place in the country.
CBN’s Emefiele said, “We have carried out our investigation and we found out that a substantial percentage of our people are getting involved in cryptocurrency which is not the best. Don’t get me wrong, some may be legitimate but most are illegitimate.”