The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in conjunction with the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), has launched the Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme named, AfriGo, aimed at creating a more robust payments system that would drive financial inclusion in the country.
The move by the apex bank on Thursday, January 26, is part of efforts to reshape the country's payment structure. Emefiele, while launching the card virtually, added that the apex bank is set to bar payment of charges (in dollars) on card transactions within the country in the next few weeks.
According to him, transaction charges on all cards would henceforth be paid in Naira, except for international transactions.
Listing the advantages of the new card, Emefiele stated:
"The National Domestic Card avails us the sovereignty of our data. Secondly, it comes at lower costs and thirdly, the issue of foreign exch
"The domestic card scheme is expected to strengthen the national payments system and deepen the usage of electronic platforms in Nigeria."
At this time when foreign exchange challenges persist globally, it is important for me to say that we have come up with this card to ensure that all card online transactions will now effective immediately, begin to go on the Nigerian National Domestic Card System.
"At some point in the next few weeks, I am sure that the CBN will come up with the cut-off. All domestic card transactions that will be conducted in Nigeria will have to be through the Nigerian Domestic Cards.
"Your existing cards are fine. You can continue using them but given that charges by foreign cards are in dollars, we will no longer pay dollars for the charges on those cards.
"We will only pay dollars for charges on transactions that are done outside Nigeria. NIBSS, CBN and Nigerian banks will work together to see how to segregate those transactions to ensure that we pay fees or charges for international transactions that are conducted on both domestic cards, Visa or Master Cards, as they are known today.
"We will bar domestic charges from the Nigerian foreign exchange market at some point in the very near future."
The new scheme is set to provide more options for domestic consumers and promote the delivery of services in a more innovative, cost-effective, and competitive manner, Emefiele said
"This effort is not a quest to prevent international service providers from continuing to provide services in Nigeria," he added.
According to him, the policy targeted at providing more options for domestic consumers will also promote the delivery of services in a more innovative, cost-effective, and competitive way.
"CBN is committed to a robust, efficient, and safe national payments system and welcomes innovation from both domestic firms and foreign investors," he said.
He further explained that the introduction of AfriGo was not an attempt to discourage international investors' operations in the Nigerian payments space but that it had become necessary owing to its obvious advantages.