Nigeria CBDC Countdown: Central Bank Delays E-Naira Rollout

A spokesperson for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Osita Nwanisobi, has said the launch of the much-hyped e-naira central bank digital currency (CBDC) has now been postponed to a later date. Nwanisobi’s announcement came less than 24 hours before the CBN was scheduled to launch the digital currency.

Launch Date Clashes With Nigeria’s Day of Independence

In a Facebook post that reveals the reasons behind the deference, Nwanisobi points to the clash of the CBDC’s launch date with Nigeria’s day of independence. According to the post, the spokesman explained that:

The planned unveiling on October 1, 2021, has now been deferred due to other key activities lined up to commemorate the country’s 61st Independence anniversary.

However, despite this postponement, Nwanisobi reassures Nigerians that the CBN and its partners are “working round the clock to ensure a seamless process.” According to the CBN post and Nwanisobi, this is being done “for the overall benefit of the customer, particularly those in the rural areas and the unbanked population.”

Not All Banks Are Ready

Meanwhile, in his response to suggestions as well as fears that some banks were not yet ready for the e-naira, Nwanisobi concedes that “not all banks customers were expected to commence transaction on the day of the launch.” The spokesperson reportedly assured financial institutions in Nigeria that they “remained key actors and were a critical part of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).”

As previously reported by News, the CBN has routinely reminded Nigerians of the CBDC’s launch date. However, just a few days before launch, a local payments firm claimed the CBN had infringed on its duly registered trademark. The firm now wants the country’s High Court to force the CBN to desist from using the term “Enaira.”

In his Facebook statement, Nwanisobi neither acknowledges the existence of the lawsuit against the CBN nor seeks to address speculation surrounding the competencies of the central bank’s technical partner Bitt Inc.

Instead, the spokesperson regurgitates the CBN claim that the e-naira is going to enable Nigerians to carry out peer-to-peer transfers to another person’s e-naira wallet as well as pay for goods and services at selected merchants.

Are you surprised by the CBN’s decision to delay launch of the e-naira? You can share your views in the comments section below.

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