Atiku urges FG to regulate not ban cryptocurrencies

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Former Nigeria vice president Atiku Abubakar on Saturday called for the reversal of the ban on cryptocurrencies trading in the country urging the government to regulate the sector rather than embarking on an outright shutdown.

In a statement he signed on Saturday, referenced the declining inflow of foreign capital into Nigeria from $23.9b in 2019 to $9.68b in 2020 and said the economy needs an expansion rather than a contraction.

The statement titled “We need to open up our economy, not close it” reads: “The number one challenge facing Nigeria is youth unemployment. In fact, it is not a challenge, it is an emergency. It affects our economy and is exacerbating insecurity in the nation.

“What Nigeria needs now, perhaps more than ever, are jobs and an opening up of our economy, especially after today’s report by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that foreign capital inflow into Nigeria is at a four year low, having plummeted from $23.9 billion in 2019 to just $9.68 billion in 2020.

“Already, the nation suffered severe economic losses from the border closure and the effects of the #COVID19 pandemic.

“This is definitely the wrong time to introduce policies that will restrict the inflow of capital into Nigeria, and I urge that the policy to prohibit the dealing and transaction of cryptocurrencies be revisited.

“It is possible to regulate the sub-sector and prevent any abuse that may be inimical to national security. That may be a better option, than an outright shutdown.

“There is already immense economic pressure on our youths. It must be the job of the government, therefore, to reduce that pressure, rather than adding to it.

Read Also: CBN ban Nigerians from trading in cryptocurrencies

“We must create jobs in Nigeria. We must expand the economy. We must remove every impediment towards investments. We owe the Nigerian people that much.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Friday directed banks to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems.

CBN gave the directive in a circular distributed to deposit money banks (DMBs), non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs).