The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed its readiness to launch the much awaited digital currency as the bank is taking all necessary steps to ensuring that the digital money becomes a huge success before the end of 2021.
The Director of Information Technology Department, Rakiy Mohammed, made this known Thursday while briefing the press with managing directors of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe; Fidelity Bank, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe; Sterling Bank, Abubakar Sulaiman, and Akinwuntan of Ecobank at the end of a virtual meeting of Bankers’ Committee.
According to her, “the CBN, like other central bankers across the world, is about completing the process of launching a digital currency. You are all aware that about 80% of central banks in the world are exploring the possibility of issuing central bank digital currency and Nigeria’s CBN cannot be left behind. So, I am happy to announce that for over two years we have been exploring this technology and we have made tremendous progress.
“You are aware that we have two forms of fiat money in Nigeria. They are the notes and the coins and the third one is digital currency. Digital currency is not new in Nigeria and we are the third or sixth in the advancement of digital money in the world. This complements the cash and the coins that we have. The central bank digital currency will just be as good as having cash in your pocket.
“You are going to have the cash on your phone. Before the end of the year, the CBN will launch the pilot scheme.
“We are at about 60% in financial inclusion and at the rate we are going we may not be able to achieve the 80% inclusion target for this year, but with digital currency, it will accelerate the ability to meet the target.
“It will enable innovation in payment system services. We are about to move to the state of a proof of concept. We will involve the banks in the execution of this noble idea.
“When launched, the digital currency will be accessible to everybody just the way the local currency is accessible to everyone today.”