The former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to reverse its policy directing Nigerian banks to shut all cryptocurrency‐related accounts and stop such transactions within the nation.
He said this in a statement he issued on Saturday.
Mr Abubakar said the first challenge facing Nigeria is youth unemployment and that it’s an emergency that needs urgent attention.
“In fact, it is not a challenge, it’s an emergency. It affects our economy, and is exacerbating insecurity within the nation,” he stated.
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday had directed banks within the nation to shut all cryptocurrency-related accounts.
The regulator prohibited all financial institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency payments within the nation.
The apex bank said all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs)
should identify persons and entities transacting in, or, operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems, and close such accounts immediately.
Mr Abubakar, who was the Peoples Democratic Party candidate for the 2019 presidential election, stated Nigeria needs to open, rather than shut the economy now.
“Especially after today’s report by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that foreign capital inflow into Nigeria is at a 4 year low, having plummeted from $23.9 billion in 2019 to just $9.68 billion in 2020,” he stated.
Mr Abubakar expressed worry that the nation had already suffered severe economic losses from the border closure, and the devastating results of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world.
He said this is definitely the wrong time to introduce policies that can restrict the inflow of capital into Nigeria.
“I urge that the policy to prohibit the dealing and transaction of cryptocurrencies be revisited,” he added.
He explained that it’s possible to regulate the sub-sector and prevent any abuse that may be inimical to national security.
“Which may be a better option, than an outright shutdown,” he stated.
Mr Abubakar highlighted that there’s already immense economic on the Nigerian youth and that it must be the job of the government, therefore, to reduce that pressure, rather than adding to it.
“We should create jobs in Nigeria. We should expand the economic system. We must remove every impediment towards investments. We owe the Nigerian people that a lot,” he concluded.