Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, has said financial regulatory authorities in Nigeria should do more to expand rather than close the country’s economy to the youths and potential investors.
Atiku said this in a statement issued on Saturday in reaction to the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) barring all cryptocurrency transactions.
The CBN had in a circular jointly signed by Bello Hassan, CBN Director for Banking Supervision; and Musa Jimoh, CBN Director of the Payment System Management Department, on Friday, announced that the use of cryptocurrency to facilitate payments is prohibited and directed all banks and financial institutions to immediately close all accounts operating the digital currency system.
But Atiku stated that such a decision is likely to affect the youths, a majority of who, he said, are unemployed, adding that the recently released foreign capital inflow report speaks to the need to have the country’s economy more open for investment.
According to the former vice president, this is not the period for regulatory authorities to be imposing decisions that may have a negative effect on the economy.
The statement read: “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 COVID-19 pandemic.”
Atiku advised the Federal Government to instead regulate the cryptocurrency sub-sector rather than impose an outright ban on it.
The statement read: “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.”