The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has said that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) decision to employ the services of the Caribbean tech firm, Bitt Inc. to develop Nigeria’s digital current e-naira was in contravention of the Presidential Executive Order 003 of 2017.
According to the executive order, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government are to grant preference to local manufacturers of goods and services.
It described the CBN’s preference of a foreign firm over Nigerian firms that had equal, or better, competencies as sheer capital flight.
The statement by the group said, “The choice of Bitt Inc., would lead to noncompliance to IT policy and framework of federal government. By law, Ministries, Departments ams Agencies (MDAs) of government, are under obligation to seek clearance from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) before embarking on any IT project as enshrined in Section 6 of the NITDA Act, 2007, and by extension seeking clearance from Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), the only regulatory body saddled with that responsibility.
“Presidential Executive Order 003 of 2017 clearly states that all MDAs of government shall grant preference to local manufacturers of goods and services providers in their procurement of goods and services.
“Any document issued by any MDA of the government for the solicitation of offers, bids, proposals or quotations for the supply of provision of goods and services, in accordance with the above, shall expressly indicate the preference to be granted to domestic manufacturers, contractors and service providers and the information required to establish the eligibility of a bid for such preference.
“Presidential Executive Order 005 of 2018. also corroborated Order 003 and go deep down to enumerate punishment for violations of these executive orders. These Orders were outrightly violated and their contents flagrantly jettisoned overboard.
“The decision of the CBN to engage a foreign company that has no pedigree compared to dozens of our indigenous FinTech, is sheer capital flight.”
Catching up with the high demand for digital currencies, and faced with the need to regulate digital transactions, the CBN disclosed that it had engaged the services of Bitt Inc. as a technical partner for the development of the e-Naira project.
The digital currency is set to be launched on 1 October 2021, the same day as the country’s Independence Day.
Nigeria, like other countries across the globe, is presented with the possibility of a pivot from cash payments to digital payments, informing the need for the bandwagon ride.
Recently, Bitcoin was made a legal tender in the small South American nation El-Salvador, sparking protests across the country.
China also launched its digital currency – the digital Yuan – however, the Chinese e-payment platform, as mirrored by the CBN’s policy on the introduction of the e-naira, will be highly regulated by the government, stripping it of the attendant anonymity of other mainstream digital currencies.
Reports state that 85 percent of central banks across the world are developing or mulling the idea of digital currencies.