• Monday, June 17, 2024
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Launch of national domestic card to end foreign charges – Emefiele

Emefiele: a tenure defined by controversy, unorthodoxy

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday launched the national domestic card scheme known as AfriGo.

According to Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, the national domestic card scheme is aimed at creating a more robust payment system that would drive financial inclusion in the country.

With the launch of the card, held virtually in Abuja, all foreign charges on foreign payment cards would be cut off.

“Your existing cards are fine. You can continue using them but given that charges by foreign cards are in dollars, we will no longer pay dollars for the charges on those cards,” Emefiele said.

He said that transaction charges on all cards would henceforth be paid in naira, except for international transactions.

“At this time when foreign exchange challenges persist globally, it is important for me to say that we have come up with this card to ensure that all card online transactions will now effective immediately, begin to go on the Nigerian National Domestic System,” he said.

“We will only pay dollars for charges on transactions that are done outside Nigeria. NIBSS, the CBN and Nigerian banks will work together to see how to segregate those transactions. To ensure that we pay fees or charges for international transactions that are conducted on both domestic cards, Visa or Master Cards, as they are known today.”

He said the CBN is committed to a robust and safe payment system and welcomes innovations from domestic and foreign investors.

Read also: CBN launches cash swap programme in 25 LGAs of Delta

According to the CBN governor, given the limited usage of cards by Nigerians and in a bid to deepen penetration, the Bank actively promoted the National domestic card scheme which will be accessible to all Nigerians and also address the country’s local peculiarities.

“This Scheme is therefore an important plug in the gap that has remained with us since the cash-less policy was introduced.”

Emefiele noted that the establishment of National Domestic Card Schemes is in line with global trends. Nigeria, by this initiative, will therefore be joining countries like China, Russia, Turkey and India who have launched domestic card schemes and harnessed the transformative benefits for their respective payments and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked.

He said the effort is not a quest to prevent international service providers from continuing to provide services in Nigeria. Rather, it is aimed at providing more options for domestic consumers whilst also promoting the delivery of services in a more innovative, cost effective and competitive manner.

“Indeed, the National Domestic Card Scheme bodes opportunities for our economy to integrate the informal segment of our economy, reduce shadow banking, bring more Nigerians into the formal financial services with attendant diversification of deposit portfolio which will further strengthen the stability of the banking industry,” he said.

Emefiele said he was gratified that the Nigerian banking community has risen up to the challenge of further strengthening the national payments system through the implementation of a Domestic Card Scheme.