Stakeholders in fintech and digital currency in Nigeria were bewildered when CBN announced that it will be partnering with Barbados based fintech company Bitt Inc for the technical development of eNaira. Many believed that Nigeira digital currency ecosystem is filled with technocrats who has better skills and experience than the foreign company chosen by the nation’s apex bank.
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Seasoned human rights and tech lawyer Mahmud Abdul in his tweet berated the Central Bank of Nigeria for it’s decision.
Kalu Aja, a financial investment specialist in the tweeter conversation noted that;
“One would have assumed that the CBN that always preaches “Buy Nigerian” would have selected a local firm as partner and “saved the Naira” That would have boosted the local FINTECH economy”
CBN gave reasons why it chose the Barbados based fintech company thus;
“In choosing Bitt Inc, the CBN will rely on the company’s tested and proven digital currency experience, which is already in circulation in several Eastern Caribbean Countries,” the statement said.
The CBN said, “Bitt Inc. was key to the development and successful launch of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in April 202I.”
Bitt led the development of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s “DCash” – the first digital cash issued by a currency union central bank.
But many Nigerians believe that a Nigerian company should be chosen to prevent further depreciation of Naira, a CBN gospel message, by avoiding any transaction that will involve paying foreign contractors on a job that can be locally sourced.
Nigeria boasts of a thriving financial technology environment. Payment platforms such as Flutterwave and Paystack offer digital wallets services to its customers.
Despite the Buhari-led regime’s support for the nation’s private technology sector, engaging the Barbados based company comes as a rebuff to Nigerian tech firms.
What is your take ? Do you believe Nigerian Fintech companies can provide technical support for eNaira Development ? Drop your opinion.