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No, Nigeria's central bank not planning to close digital finance companies

IN SHORT: Digital financial apps have become popular in Nigeria after a currency reform policy hit serious hurdles. But the banking regulator is not about to shut these apps down, as online claims suggest.

Posts on Facebook claim that Nigeria’s central bank is planning to shut down digital finance companies.

The messages read: “Breaking News: ‘PALMPAY, KUDA, CHIPPER, OPAY TO BE SHUTDOWN SOON’ CBN:😔 [sad face emoji].” 

A message which appears to be from the regulator's acting spokesperson is also circulating on WhatsApp and makes the same claim, with more details:

“Please if you are using OPay, PalmPay or any of these apps or their POS, stop keeping much money in the account or stop using it. CBN is about to suspend the accounts of all the fintech money apps because these apps are used to perpetrate fraud … Inform your loved ones to avoid a loss that can lead to depression. Whether it is fake or not, take caution.”

Subscribers also sent questions to Africa Check on WhatsApp about the authenticity of the claim. We checked.

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Nigeria’s central bank: No plan to shut down digital finance companies

In the run-up to the country’s presidential election on 25 February rumours circulated online that digital banks would be shuttered.

Nigerians turned to digital finance apps after a currency redesign policy implemented by the central bank led to cash shortages.

These rumours before the elections were false. And so are the latest claims.

Isa AbdulMumin of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) denied the claims. He told journalists on 24 March that the “news” was “simply fake”.

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