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CBN: eNaira will boost cross-border trade

September 22
21:03 2021

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has explained the economic implications and importance of a centralised and regulated digital currency in Nigeria.

Last month, the apex bank said it would launch the pilot scheme of its digital currency, eNaira, by October 1, 2021, with Bitt Inc., a Barbados-based fintech firm, as its technical partner.

The CBN also said eNaira must be accepted as a form of payment by all merchants and business outlets.

Speaking about the project, Rakiya Mohammed, CBN director of information technology, said that the adoption of digital currency would boost cross-border trade and enable the apex bank to formulate better macroeconomic policies.

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Mohammed said this while speaking virtually at the third-quarter industry forum of the committee of e-business industry in Abuja on Wednesday.

“If people adopt more of the usage of the eNaira, then we will be able to have more data to formulate better macroeconomic policies,” she said.

“And when countries come on board and create their own digital currencies then we will be able to have a faster exchange of currencies, and therefore we might be able to boost cross-border trade at a much lower cost.

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“Of course, payment efficiency, even though we know that Nigeria has one of the best payment systems in the world, we will still be able to improve on that.

“We believe that the eNaira will be a catalyst for digital economy because the people who are outside the formal banking sector will be integrated.”

On the eNaira design, Mohammed said that the CBN had concluded its development, adding that the design would soon be unveiled.

She said that the digital currency would be a legal tender like the fiat naira while emphasising that the eNaira would not replace but complement cash notes.

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“In terms of the eNaira design, it will be a legal tender just like cash which is one of the fundamental differences between it and the cryptocurrency,” Mohammed said.

“One, eNira will be equal to one fiat naira, and we adopted a two-tier retail model that would be a lot less disruption into the financial system.

“Our banks, payment service providers, and fintech are all going to be on board and we are going to key to the infrastructure they have already and incorporate the new system.

“It is not meant to replace the cash we have, but only to supplement.

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On the anonymity of transactions, she said: “It would be value based which means that we will see the amount of money changing hands without necessarily seeing who is behind the transactions so anonymity is complete and absolute.

“This will allow us to be able to conduct their AML/KYC operations. It is going to be non-interest bearing at least for now.”

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