The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has launched the Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme called AfriGo.
Unveiling the scheme Thursday in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said Nigeria has joined the league of countries with domestic card scheme..
He said: “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.”
Mr. Emefiele said this 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” he said.
The CBN Governor said “the CBN is committed to a robust, efficient and safe national payments system and welcomes innovation from both domestic firms and foreign investors. The Nigerian market is vast, and the current participants have done so much in the last twelve years to transform the ecosystem. Yet there is much ground to be covered as millions of Nigerians are yet without payments cards to consummate transactions.”
“I am convinced that the National Domestic Card Scheme will make this a reality in the coming months. We can no longer neglect the vast majority of the Nigerians whose daily payments needs are micropayments. We need to capture them in national statistics to further understand their transaction dynamics and properly target interventions in that sector of the economy” he said.
He further explained that “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.”