Oct 21, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Godwin Emefiele, CBN and the Delayed Launch of eNaira by Onyema Dike

The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced that it will launch its digital currency eNaira on October 1st, 2021. This did not happen.

In a statement about the change in the start date on October 1st, Apex Bank stated that it did not want the start to conflict with independence activities and an October 4th. Date was given. October 4th has come and gone and the best thing the CBN did was release guidelines for the elusive eNaira.

Sunday October 10th In 2021, the CBN announced that the launch would take place in a few days without specifying a specific date.

The Apex Bank under the incumbent Governor Emefiele began researching digital currencies in 2017, but it took the growth of cryptocurrency transactions, the explosion of the digital economy, and Nigeria’s rise to one of the largest digital currency markets in the world for the CBN to take a closer look.

In July, the CBN -Governor announced that the initiative entitled “Project Giant” is at an advanced stage and that Apex-Bank will launch eNaira in October. A month later, Apex Bank announced in a statement dated August 30, 2021, signed by CBN’s Director Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, that it had selected a technical partner. The company has been identified as Bitt Inc., based in Barbados.

Bitt Inc., named by Gabriel Abed as Co-Founder and CEO, describes itself as the Caribbean’s leading authority on digital Currencies and was “ key to the development and successful start of the pilot project for the digital currency of the Central Bank (CBDC) of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in April 2021.

< p class = "align-left"> The statement goes on to say that “The CBN’s selection of Bitt Inc. from the highly competitive bidders depended on the company’s“ technological expertise, efficiency, platform security, interoperability and implementation experience ” .

The CBN listed the advantages of a digital currency in the same statement: “ To increase cross-border trade, accelerate financial inclusion, cheaper and faster transfers, easier targeted so Include cial interventions and improvements in monetary policy effectiveness, payment systems efficiency and tax collection the start date is unknown, ask many questions; When was the expression of interest submitted? Why has a Nigerian FinTech company not been given special consideration given the widespread opinion of Nigerian youth about the CBN’s alleged war on technology and also since working with a local company could have been an opportunity to prove it.

But let’s assume that no Nigerian company has been good enough, what do we really know about Bitt Inc? What are the terms and scope of the contract? How high will CBN’s stake in the planned Bitt Inc. Nigeria be? How experienced can a company be that launched its first digital currency as a pilot in April 2021?

One of the reasons the CBN chose Bitt Inc. was the successful start of the pilot project for the digital currency of the Central Bank (CBDC) of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in April 2021. “

What the CBN did not say , is that the member countries that make up the ECCB have a total population of about 700,000 (seven hundred thousand), which is less than the aggregate population of Ikeja and Agege.

How can such a company implement a digital currency for a country of 200 million people and active bank accounts of 79.3 million by 2019 estimates? ?

Questions have risen after the rollout was delayed and the September 17, 2020 news reports that the CBN governor has denied speculation that he is the owner of the Bitt Inc. is. The CBN governor is quoted as saying, “Bitt Inc. would form this company in Nigeria and CBN would have a controlling interest in the company. So it’s not my company, as people said . ”