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Nigeria to launch its digital currency, eNaira on Oct 4, says Emefiele

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will no launch its digital currency, eNaira October 4, instead of the independent day anniversary, according to the regulatory bank Governor.

According to Godwin Emefiele, because of activities surrounding Nigeria’s Independence celebration on October 1, the earlier planned launch of the e-Naira on same date would likely be rescheduled to October 4, 2021.

The governor who spoke on the sideline of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York, said the country is going to be the first country in Africa to launch a digital currency.
“The central bank would not want the event to take the shine away from the Independence celebration,” he said.

“We are going to be the first country in Africa to launch a digital currency. It is a novel idea because we think it will facilitate trade, Nigeria being the biggest country in Africa, this will set the tone to tell Africa that we are ready to lead and we would indeed lead in trade and we would make sure that happens.

He, therefore, called on Nigerians in the diaspora and other foreign investors to take advantage of the opportunities in the country.
Emefiele insisted that despite the economic challenges, numerous investment opportunities with good returns abound in the country.

The regulatory bank chief advised Nigerians in the diaspora to begin to consider investing in their nation.

“Why am I here? I am here to convince those of you in the United States that it is time for us to begin to look back home. The opportunities are there. I know you would say: How do I access credit facilities? Sometimes you find that the difficulty in accessing credit may be a problem, but you can come and start from somewhere because of the numerous opportunities.

“The important thing is that Nigeria is opening up and I can tell you that people all over the world are beginning to think of what they can do with Nigeria and not what they can do for Nigeria.

“We Nigerians must set examples by folding our sleeves and doing things for ourselves before we can expect others to support us. That is the word I have come with today, that we are determined to do it for ourselves,” the CBN told his audience during his 36 minutes presentation.

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Emefiele pointed out that because of the desire to stimulate economic growth in the country, the country’s economic managers recently went to the Presidency and advised the government to take some bold moves.

He listed some of the initiatives to include the ongoing repositioning of the Nigeria Commodity Exchange, the newly established Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCo) and the upcoming Nigerian International Financial Centre (NIFC).

“In the agriculture sector, we found that the big problem we have is the movement of goods from farm to market. It is a logistics and transportation problem.

“We got approval from the Presidency to reposition the Nigeria Commodity Exchange which plays a pivotal role in the movement of goods from farm to market. Another important move is the creation of the Infraco. You all know that infrastructure has been a problem in Nigeria.

“We are trying to set up a world class infrastructure to begin to see how to revamp Nigeria’s infrastructure without placing a burden on the federal government. So, the question now is where do you (Nigerians in the diaspora) stand?

“We would like you to come join and work with us,” he said.
He reiterated the resolve of the central bank not to allow cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria’s financial system, just as he expressed excitement about the central bank’s digital currency, the e-Naira, which would be unveiled in few days’ time.

“Between all central bankers in ECOWAS, we are already working on certain collaboration to make trade, payment and banking system integrate in such a way to set example on the AfCFTA,” he added.

The central bank governor was optimistic that all the aforementioned initiatives would likely stimulate economic growth, probably higher that population growth, promote prosperity and increase output growth.
Earlier, Emefiele reviewed the performance of the Nigerian economy between 2015 and 2019, he cited the devastating impact of the COVID-19 on the economy and listed various measures adopted by the fiscal and monetary authorities to support households and firms.

“Of course, we took a number of countervailing measures because we felt that there was a very big part responsibility on the part of government, talking about the fiscal and monetary authorities.
“We saw weakness on the part of the fiscal, because the fiscal space was very narrow; the deficit was narrow and space to release money to catalyse the economy on the fiscal side was very slim.

“So, the monetary policy thought there was a need from our side to see what could be done,” he explained.

He reiterated that the 5.01 per cent GDP growth recorded in the second quarter of 2021 was due to the base year effect, pointing out that the base year effect would have dissipated when the third and fourth quarters GDP figures would have been announced.

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