The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday in Lagos said that its digital currency might be launched by the end of 2021.
Mrs 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 announcement and possibly launching a pilot scheme in order to be able to provide this kind of currency to the populace,” she said.
Mohammed said when eventually operational, the currency would complement cash notes.
According to 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 that digital currency would accelerate the ability to meet the target, regardless of one’s country of residence.
The specialist also said that 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.
Mohammed said that CBN considered the architecture, accessibility issue and privacy of the currency before going into it.
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 Mr Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Access Bank Plc, and Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, Managing Director/CEO, Ecobank Nigeria.
Others are Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank; Mr Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director/CEO, Sterling Bank Plc; Mr Haruna Mustafa, Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, and Mr Osita Nwanisobi, Acting Director, Corporate Communication Department, CBN.