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‘Nigeria must leverage digital channels to improve access to finance, credit’

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The Central Bank of Nigerian (CBN) has stressed the need for the country to leverage digital channels to improve access to finance and credit for the citizens.

The CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, who stated this at a media interactive programme in Lagos at the weekend, said Nigeria must leverage digital channels to improve access to finance and credit for the citizens.

He announced that the Information Communicate Technology (ICT) sector grew by 14.7 percent in 2020 up from 10.16 percent growth achieved in 2019.

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Emefiele, who was represented by Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Edward Lametek, said the digital economy would be a key factor towards the country’s sustainable growth over the next few years.

Speaking on the theme: ‘Leveraging digital economy to drive growth, job creation and sustainable development in the midst of a global pandemic’, he pointed out that Nigeria need to build a solid digital economy, by focusing on digital infrastructure (internet connectivity most importantly), digital literacy and skills, digital financial services, digital platforms and digital entrepreneurship and innovation to make the country more competitive.

According to him, as the biggest economy in Africa with one of the largest youth populations in the world, Nigeria is well positioned to develop a strong digital economy.

Consequently, he stressed the need to focus on accelerating improvements across five fundamental pillars of a digital economy: digital infrastructure, digital platforms, digital financial services, digital entrepreneurship and digital skills.
Emefiele pointed out that the presence of these digital channels along with various mobile and web-based channels helped to support households and business continuity.

“Let me use this medium to reiterate that the CBN did not place any new restrictions on the use of cryptocurrency in Nigeria. Our recent directive only amplified an earlier regulation on the subject of cryptocurrency.

“The recent directive became necessary to protect the financial system and the generality Nigerians from the risks inherent in crypto asset transactions, which have escalated in recent times, with consequences on financial stability and implementation of monetary policy.

“In our effort to drive change and development, the CBN has over the last decade and half, worked to build an effective and efficient payment system. The Payment System Vision 2020 strategy document was published in 2007 and the main objective of the strategy was to promote and entrench electronic payments, as the major channel for payment and settlement by all economic agents, away from the current dominance of cash-based transactions.

“A combination of these payment initiatives has immensely helped to create employment opportunities and to further our efforts at building a more financially inclusive economy.”

He said the bank has continued to improve its remittance infrastructure in order to provide Nigerians in the diaspora with cheaper, convenient and faster channels for remitting funds to beneficiaries in Nigeria.

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