By Bassey Udo
With the schedule for the planned unveiling of Nigeria’s digital currency, e-Naira, shifted from Independence Day, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, has said the new currency will set the pace for trade in Africa when it is eventually launched to October 4.
During the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja laat week, the CBN governor confirmed the official launch of the digital currency for Ocrober 1.
But speaking to a group of foreign investors in New York, recently, ThisDay quoted Emefiele as saying that the decision has been taken to move the launch of the eNaira a few days forward because of activities surrounding the country’s Independence celebration on October 1.
“The CBN would not want the event to take the shine away from the Independence celebration,” Emefiele is quoted to have said.
When the new currency would eventually launched, the CBN governor said Nigeria would be the first country in Africa to have a digital currency in operation.
“It is a novel idea, because the CBN thinks it will facilitate trade. Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa, the digital currency will set the tone for Africa, to tell the people that we are ready to lead and we would indeed lead in trade,” he said.
Between all the Central Bankers in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region, the CBN governor said Nigeria is the only country already working on certain collaborations to make trade, payment and banking system integrate in such a way to set example the country was ready for the take off of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
During the MPC meeting, Emefiele said the CBN took a major step towards the launch of the digital currency with the formal engagement of global fintech firm, Bitt Inc. as technical partner for the project.
To choose the technical partner, he said the CBN went through a rigorous vendor selection process in line with the Public Procurement Act, conducted by seven departmental directors and a Deputy Governor.
The evaluation, he said, was based on the criteria of technology ownership and control; implementation timeline; efficiency, ease of adoption; support for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT); platform security; inter-operability; implementation experience.
Emefiele said he was optimism that the e-Naira project would help promote increased cross-border trade, accelerate financial inclusion and lead to cheaper and faster remittance inflow.
Also, he said the digital money would lead to easier targeted social interventions as well as improvement in monetary policy effectiveness, payment systems efficiency, and tax collection.
After the official launching of the e-Naira, Emefiele said Nigerians would be able to download the e-Naira application either from Google play store or Apple app store, to go on board the platform, fund their e-Naira wallet using their bank account details or with cash at a registered agent locations.
However, ahead of the official launxh of the digital currency the dedicated website by the CBN e-Naira has recorded over one million hits in less than 24-hours since it went live one week to the planned launch.
The remarkable development, it was learned, shows the high level of anticipation and interest by Nigerians over the coming of the digital currency.
The CBN governor said the e-Naira website wkuld be easier for users to conduct financial transactions, as he offers opportunity for peer-to-peer payments which would allow the sending of money to one another through a linked bank account or card; allows customers to move money between bank account to their e-Naira wallets with ease; can monitor their eNaira wallet, check balances and view transaction history; and make in-store payment using their e-Naira wallet by scanning QR codes.
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