Nigeria’s opposition leader Atiku Abubakar on Saturday condemned Friday’s decision to ban cryptocurrencies by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The CBN issued a directive to all Nigerian banks against conducting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions, saying it was an unregulated market and cannot be allowed as a legitimate source of exchange in Nigeria.
The decision prompted a nationwide uproar, with CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele coming under intense criticism for his alleged archaic policies that stifle economic growth in a country of about 200 million.
Nigeria is deemed as the second-largest Bitcoin market in the world.
Mr. Abubakar joined in voicing concerns over the crypto ban on Saturday, saying it should be reversed immediately.
Read the former vice president’s full statement below.
We Need To Open Up Our Economy, Not Close It
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.
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.
Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007
6th February, 2021.