Rakiya Mohammed, Information Technology Specialist at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), announced that the central bank is making efforts to circulate a digital currency in the country.
According to a report in the People’s Gazette, Mohammed made this public after the bankers committee meeting in Abuja on Thursday, telling reporters:
“Before the end of the year, the central bank will make a special announcement and possibly launch a pilot plan to offer this type of currency to the population.”
In May the governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had stated that digital currencies are “coming to life” in Nigeria despite the current ban.
Indeed, Nigeria’s central bank banned commercial banks and other financial institutions from offering services to cryptocurrency exchanges in February, citing discredited claims that cryptocurrencies are primarily used for illegal transactions.
According to Mohammed, the digital currency CBN will act as a complement to the naira notes. The IT specialist also said the planned digital currency will be used to ease currency restrictions in the country.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Currency restrictions as part of the CBN’s “defense of the naira” policy had led to an increase in the introduction of crypto in Nigeria in the run-up to the February ban.
Foreign remittances represent Nigeria’s largest non-oil foreign exchange revenue, with millions of its overseas population living overseas and supporting their relatives at home. World Bank figures show that $ 26.4 billion in such payments flowed into the country in 2019.
Mohammed announced that the CBN has been studying the possibility of issuing central bank digital currency for about two years. The CBN manager said the central bank is ready to develop a proof-of-concept blockchain network to run pilot tests for the system.
Nigeria’s CBDC plans follow a similar announcement from neighboring Ghana. At the beginning of June, Cointelegraph announced that Ghana’s central bank is in the process of becoming the first in Africa to introduce a CBDC..