…President says Islamic Development Bank to support Nigeria on economic, social infrastructure***
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on Tuesday in Lagos that it would take decisive steps to ensure that Nigeria operated a 100 percent cashless economy.
Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, made the assertion at the first-year anniversary of the Central Bank Digital Currency, the eNaira.
“The destination as far as I am concerned is to achieve a 100 percent cashless economy in Nigeria.
“I know that those who doubt us will say that 100 percent cashless is unattainable. Yes, it is true! But, Nigeria must move from being a predominantly cash economy to a predominantly cashless economy.
“At this time, I can say from what I have read from online banking to introducing the POS to ATMs, to mobile banking, working and collaborating with the Ministry of Education, I want to say that we have provided all the necessary infrastructure that should enable us make cashless a nationwide journey.
“It is not something that some of us will like but, we would in the coming weeks and months make pronouncements that must make cashless go nationwide.
“I believe part of those pronouncements will begin from tomorrow and there will be some breaking news tomorrow about it.
“Even the bankers committee will hold a special bankers committee meeting tomorrow to deliberate further on this, so let’s expect the news,” Emefiele said.
He said that the eNaira, which was another product added for Nigerians to embrace a cashless economy, had in its first year of operation, recorded over eight billion transactions.
He said that the apex bank would continue to refine, fine-tune and upgrade the eNaira as it was a journey of possibilities and not a one-off event.
According to him, Nigerians should expect to see additional functionalities in the coming months.
Emefiele said, “The additional functionalities include onboarding of revenue collection agencies to increase and simplify collections.
“Collaborating with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs through the creation of sector-specific tokens to support the Federal Government’s social programmes and distribution of targeted welfare schemes in a bid to lift millions out of poverty by 2025.’’
He assured the apex bank would continue to act decisively to encourage innovation, while at the same time protecting the interests of consumers and other stakeholders.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, congratulated Emefiele for the courage to introduce the initiative and the success it had recorded in the last one year to further deepen the policy of inclusion in the financial ecosystem.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by Dr. Rabiu Olowo, Commissioner of Finance, Lagos State, urged the apex bank to try to win the trust of the people in this product.
“The need to engender the trust of the people in this product cannot be over-emphasised.
“That’s why financial literacy advocacy education campaign is very important as we move on, to get this product ready for its versatility, where it can be quickly and easily deployed to give out stimulus checks to the lowest income groups who need government handouts and intervention the most, especially during recession or during a significant situation like the one we experienced during COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the epitome of the influence that this innovation can have on inclusive growth and development of a nation,’’ Sanwo-Olu said.
The eNaira, designed to provide Nigerians with a cheap, safe and trusted means of payment within the domestic and global economy, was introduced Oct. 25, 2021, by President Muhammadu Buhari, given the potential benefits it portends for a digital economy.
Its objective is to enhance financial inclusion, support poverty reduction, enable direct welfare disbursement to citizens and support a resilient payments ecosystem.
It is also to improve availability and usability of central bank money, facilitate diaspora remittances, reduce the cost of processing cash, and reduce cost and improve efficiency of cross-border payment among others
In another development, The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) will continue to engage Nigeria on its strategic priorities areas such as economic and social infrastructure, the President of the bank, Dr. Muhammad Aljasseer has said.
Aljaseer made this known while briefing newsmen while visiting project sites in Kano State on Tuesday.
The president, who said that it was his first time visiting Nigeria or Sub-Saharan Africa, commended the Kano State Agro-Pastoral Development Project (KSADP) for meeting the expectations of the bank, which is the sponsor of the project whose objective is to reduce poverty by strengthening food security in Kano.
He said that the project funded by the bank and the Lives and Livelihood Funds (LLF), has contributed to poverty reduction and strengthened food and nutrition security in the state.
“The bank has been monitoring Kano’s performance. I am impressed that you are working very hard to meet the bank’s expectations.
”The IsDB has approved a total financing of 1.8 billion dollars for Nigeria.
”The 1.8 billion dollars facility for Nigeria is made up of 971 million dollars for project financing by the bank, and about 288 million dollars provided by the Islamic Corporation for Development (ICD)–IsDB’s private sector affiliate,” he said.
He further said that 477 million dollars was in form of trade operations by its trade arm, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), and 90 million dollars from other funds and operations.
“Our investment guarantee arm has provided 1.1 billion dollars as business insured and 1 billion dollars as a new insurance commitment to help attract businesses and insure them.
“The IsDB active portfolio in Nigeria now stands at 1.2 billion dollars and we look forward to strengthening our bilateral relations.
“The bank is keen to continue to engage Nigeria on its strategic priorities areas such as economic and social infrastructure and advisory support for strengthening Islamic financial services,” he added.
Aljasser also inaugurated Veterinary Reference laboratory renovated and equipped by KSADP at Gwale Veterinary Clinic, in Kano.
The president also visited Watari dam infrastructure, renovated by KSADP, with funding from the IsDB and the LLF.