Senate yesterday resolved to invite the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda for a briefing on the opportunities and threats of the Cryptocurrency on the nation’s economy and security following the apex bank’s recent directive stopping all financial institutions from transacting in Cryptocurrencies.
They are to appear before the joint Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime; and Capital Market, chaired by Senators Uba Sani (APC Kaduna Central), Yakubu Oseni (APC Kogi East) and Ibikunle Amosun (APC Ogun Central), respectively who are to report back findings within two weeks.
The resolution was a sequel to a motion, “CBN’s decision to stop Financial Institutions from transacting in Cryptocurrencies and matters arising therefrom” jointly sponsored by Senators Istifanus Gyang (PDP Plateau North) and Adetokunbo Abiru (APC Lagos East).
Presenting the motion, Senator Gyang noted that the CBN took the decision and following its earlier directives in January 2017 and February 2018 which forbade banks not to use, hold, trade and/or transact in Cryptocurrencies.
He said the action and directive of the CBN have attracted sharp reactions from Nigerians and has become a topical subject of national discussion.
According to him, “Cryptocurrency is both an opportunity and a threat, hence the Senate has a responsibility to ensure that the nation and citizens do not miss out on the opportunities that Cryptocurrency offers and in the same vein, mitigate and prevent likely consequential effects on the nation’s economy and security.”
He, however, added that “the decision of the CBN is said to have been predicated on the need to safeguard the Nigerian economy from the adverse effects of the Cryptocurrency regime which are unregulated digital or virtual currencies that are issued by anonymous entities and secured by cryptography.”
Contributing to the motion, Senator Biodun Olujumi (PDP Ekiti South) said Nigeria did not create a cryptocurrency and therefore could not possibly kill its operation.
She said Nigeria should not exclude itself from global technological developments shaping the world.
“We can regulate and manage cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria, we can not kill, it because some of our youths are working hard and doing great in technology.”
Also, Senator Solomon Adeola
(APC Lagos West) said the CBN’s ban on cryptocurrency was shying away from its oversight duties.
He said it was important to invite the CBN governor to find out the regulations put in place to regulate the activities of those operating in cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
Adeola said all over the world the activities of cryptocurrency
operators are regulated.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan
, said that the CBN needs to educate Nigerians the more on the issues revolving around cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria especially as to how it impacts the economy and security.
He said the Senate wants to be briefed to have more information and be guided on next line of action, noting that the motion may not be the last on cryptocurrency as the issues are still developing.