The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that its soon to be launched digital currency, e-Naira, will strengthen the stability of the banking system as deposits become more diversified when more people are banked.
The Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) will also make it easier for the banking system to comply with existing laws such as anti-money laundering, customer protection against fraud and ensuring the safety and stability of the payment system.
This was made known by CBN’s Deputy Governor, Operations, Mr Folashodun Shonubi, at the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) advocacy dialogue series 4 webinar held on Thursday in Lagos.
The theme of the event was, ‘Central Bank Digital Currencies: Insights for the 21st Century Banker.
Shonubi said, “The Central Bank in its implementation has ensured the e-Naira feeds our economy and provides greater value.
“The central bank digital currency offers all the benefits of cash but in digital form. Every single digital currency is an electronic version of the cash, the legal tender. When you make a cash payment, settlement is done instantly; digital currencies entail the same promises and even more.
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“CBDC offers a safer option from the privately issued cryptocurrency which have been based on the possibility to enable cheaper transactions but have now been used for investment.
“The intention is not to eliminate other forms of payment but to complement the current areas of payment options, thereby ensuring the stability of the payment system in the long run. I expect in the coming days we will see rapid inclusion rates.
“For banks in developing nations, it will enhance their liquidity, efficiency in national remittances and challenge the high cost of remittances as the world rebounds in the post-pandemic. I am of the view that the era of CBDC promotes greater opportunities, and the central bank must be aware of the risks and mitigate them.”
Speaking at the event, Lamido Yuguda, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), one of the key players in the successful operation of the digital currency, said that the e-Naira, which is about to be launched in October, would help improve the capital market when combined with vibrant inter-developmental policies, which would lead to financial inclusion, especially in the capital market.
The SEC boss said, “This is an opportunity for the fintech market to connect our people to existing opportunities in the financial market, connecting our people with investment opportunities in other climes. Once we do that, we would grow our market, Nigeria has 200 million people. We are blessed with a hardworking youthful population.
“This capital market would in turn finance the necessary infrastructure investment that this country needs today.”
What you should know
Recall that on July 27, 2021, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, confirmed the launch of its digital currency (e-Naira) pilot program in October. He also spoke on the importance of eNaira in Africa’s largest economy that included cross-border trade facilitation, financial inclusion, monetary policy effectiveness, improved payment efficiency, revenue tax collection, remittance improvement, and targeted social interventions.
Earlier in September, SEC, which had sought to regulate crypto on the grounds that they qualify as securities transactions, disclosed that the recent launch of the country’s digital currency, e-naira, is the result of its engagement with the CBN.