Nigeria: CBN May Launch Digital Currency By End of 2021 - Official

The bank is also considering launching virtual cards.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday said its digital currency may be launched by the end of 2021.

Rakiya Mohammed, an Information Technology Specialist with CBN, made the disclosure at an online news briefing at the end of Bankers Committee meeting.

According to her, the apex bank has for over two years been exploring the technology and has made tremendous progress.

"Before the end of the year, the Central Bank will be making special announcements and possibly launching a pilot scheme in order to be able to provide this kind of currency to the populace," she said.

Mrs Mohammed said when eventually operational, the currency would complement cash notes.

According to Mrs Muhammed, another reason the apex bank plans to come up with digital currency is to make remittances travel easier from abroad to Nigeria.

She said digital currency would accelerate the ability to meet the target, regardless of one's country of residence.

Mrs Muhammed also said the CBN would be exploring various technological options and engaging various industry players as well as moving to the next stage of proof of concept to pilot the scheme.

She said the CBN considered the architecture, accessibility issue and privacy of the currency before going into it.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other issues discussed at the bankers' committee meeting include launch of digital cards as well as foreign exchange availability in banks.

Bank chief executives at the briefing include Herbart Wigwe, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Access Bank Plc, and Patrick Akinwuntan, Managing Director/CEO of Ecobank Nigeria.

Others are: Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank; Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director/CEO, Sterling Bank Plc; Haruna Mustafa, Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, and Osita Nwanisobi, Acting Director, Corporate Communication Department, CBN.

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