Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has criticised the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria.
Atiku said with Nigeria’s economic crisis, the country needs to open up the economy.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday, February 5, 2021, directed Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and other financial institutions to close accounts of persons who are using their systems for cryptocurrency trading.
The CBN warned that financial institutions who breach the directive would face severe sanctions.
Reacting to this, Atiku in a statement titled, ‘We Need To Open Up Our Economy, Not Close It’, on Saturday, February 6, 2021, said the government should create jobs for Nigerian youths because unemployment is one of Nigeria’s main challenges.
He added that unemployment affects the economy and worsen insecurity in the country.
The statement 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 COVID-19 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.”
However, since the CBN issued the directive on Friday, Nigerians on social media have been criticising the decision as many argued that cryptocurrency is the least of Nigeria’s problems.