CBN asks NCC’s support to introduce USSD to Digital Currency

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Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has revealed plans to adopt Unstructured Supplementary (USSD) code in order to improve its digital currency and foster financial inclusion, while requesting help from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other telecoms providers.

This was revealed on Friday at the virtual International Monetary Fund (IMF) African Department Speakers Series. Kingsley Obiora, the CBN’s Deputy Governor, stated that the apex bank will seek stakeholder support for the adoption of the USSD code.

He said that Nigeria was doing well, citing a PwC report that indicated the country was first in terms of adoption, and that the CBN will continue to grow and improve the system. The adoption of the USSD code, according to Obiora, was important to increase financial inclusion in the country and ensure that those without cellphones could still interact on the eNaira platform.

He added: “We have made serious progress in the last seven to eight years because when the current governor resumed in 2014, one of the pillars of his vision was to significantly improve financial inclusion.

So we had 48% of our people in the financial system at the time, and thanks to numerous initiatives he devised and implemented, we are almost at 70% now.

That still leaves us with about 30 per cent of our population out of the financial system and we believe the CBDC can help reduce that number even more. A lot of people might not have smartphones but that is essentially the next step of our improvement in the CBDC, to introduce the USSD code, so those that do not have smartphones can still transact.”

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