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‘We Need To Open Up Our Economy’ — Atiku Faults CBN’s Directive On Cryptocurrency

Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has faulted the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Cryptocurrency exchanges.

The apex bank had on Friday directed financial institutions to close accounts of persons or entities operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems.

In a circular addressed to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs), and Other Financial institutions (OFIs), it threatened to sanction institutions that flout the directive.

Reacting to the development in a statement on Saturday, Atiku said what the country needs now is opening up the economy, not closing it.

He noted that it was the wrong time to introduce policies that will restrict the inflow of capital into Nigeria.

The former presidential candidate disagreed with an outright shutdown of the Cryptocurrency market in Nigeria, advising government to regulate the sub-sector and prevent any abuse that may be damaging to national security.

Atiku, therefore, urged the CBN to revisit the policy and reduce the “immense” economic pressure on Nigerian youths.

“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,” he said.

“What Nigeria needs now, perhaps more than ever, are jobs and an opening up of our economy, especially after yesterday’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 damaging 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.”

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