BusinessDay

CBN appoints Bitt Inc as technical partner for e-Naira project

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has engaged a global fintech company, Bitt Inc., as the technical partner for its digital currency eNaira, which is due to be unveiled before year end.

The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced this in Abuja on Monday. According to Emefiele, the e-Naira would help increase cross-border trade, accelerate financial inclusion, cheaper and faster remittance inflows. It would also ease targeted social interventions, as well as drive improvements in monetary policy effectiveness, payment systems efficiency, and tax collection.

Following an extensive research and explorations, the CBN took the decision in 2017 to digitise the naira and had commenced Project Giant – the pilot for the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

That decision was taken on the back of significant surge in the use of digital payments and the rise in the digital economy.

Over 85 percent of global central banks are now considering adopting digital currencies in their countries.

“The CBN’s selection of Bitt Inc, from among highly competitive bidders, was hinged on the company’s technological competence, efficiency, platform security, interoperability, and implementation experience,” the CBN noted in a statement signed by its director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi.

Read Also: CBN to launch digital currency before year-end

“In choosing Bitt Inc, the CBN will rely on the company’s tested and proven digital currency experience, which is already in circulation in several Eastern Caribbean Countries.

“Bitt Inc. was key to the development and successful launch of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in April 2021,” according to the statement.

Nigeria’s central bank hopes that its digital currency would complement the local currency and would be as good as one having cash.

Emefiele had noted that the digital currency was being considered on the back of the present global demand, citing the remittances that are a huge market in Africa.

The digital currency, as envisaged, would help the country achieve the 80 percent financial inclusion target, which it missed in 2020.

The currency would also help ease the process and cost of transaction, currency management, as well as complement CBN’s cashless policy. It would also enable innovation in the payment system in the country, enabling Nigerians to be able to transact more, online.

He had assured that when launched, the digital currency would be accessible to everybody, the same way as the local currency today.

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