The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will no longer allow payment for dollar charges on transactions made within Nigeria either with the newly introduced National Domestic Card scheme, Afrigopay or existing foreign debit cards, popularly known as ATM cards.
“We will only pay dollars for charges on transactions that are done with domestic or foreign cards outside Nigeria,” CBN governor Godwin Emefiele said at the virtual launch of the card scheme yesterday. The card was launched by the CBN in conjunction with Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) Plc.
Mr Emefiele said NIMC, the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigerian banks will work together to see to how to desegregate the transactions to ensure “we would only made charges or fees for international transactions that are conducted on both this card, Visa or Mastercard as they are known today.”
Emefiele said the reason is not because there is preference for the new domestic card, but that what is most important is that Nigeria doesn’t have much foreign exchange.
“And we will ban payment of charges for domestic transactions from the Nigerian foreign exchange market at some point in very near future,” Emefiele said, signaling a new twist in online transactions in Nigeria.
He said the CBN and its partners coming up with a deadline for the existing card schemes in the country after which they will no longer be eligible for domestic transactions.
Noting that the domestic card scheme avails the country “the sovereignty of our data” in addition to coming at a lower cost, Emefiele said it was also a way to conserve the scarce foreign exchange in the country.
“At this time of foreign exchange challenges that persists globally it is important that that we have this card to ensure that all card transactions, online transactions where you’re using cards will now effectively immediately begin to go on the Nigerian National Domestic system.
“At some point in the next few weeks, I’m sure that the CBN will come up with the cut off which will mean that all domestic transaction all domestic transactions that are going to be conducted in Nigeria will have to be through the Nigerian domestic cards.
On her part, CBN deputy governor, financial system stability, Aisha Ahmad who also serves as the Chair of the board of NIBSS, noted that with the launch of Afrigopay, “a lot of opportunities are being created within the ecosystem, and there is more opportunities that will be brought back by this Afrigo card.
“So, leveraging its industry position, NIBBS and with a strong regulatory backing of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Afrigo card has been has been brought up. I think it is important to also explain what the corporate structure for delivering this card looks like.
“The company Afrigopay Financial Services is a domestic Card Scheme. Duly licenced by the Central Bank of Nigeria is an affiliate of NIBBS but it is constructed as a distinct legal entity, with its world class management team to deploy and operate the domestic scheme for the benefit of the industry.
“As we work to conclude connectivity and onboard all of the financial institutions. We’ll see further details on this in due course.”