From Segun Amure, (The New Diplomat’s Abuja Bureau)
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), Godwin Emefiele and the Director General, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lamido Yuguda, have been summoned by the Senate over the ban on cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria.
The lawmakers’ decision followed a motion moved by Senator Istifanus Gyang and Tokunbo Abiru, titled, “CBN decision to stop financial institutions from transacting in cryptocurrencies and matters arising therefrom.”
Supporting Sen. Gyang motion, the Lagos East Senator, Tokunbo Abiiru submitted that, “the last five years, we have had people changing cryptocurrencies to over 500 million dollars. It is good to ban because of the challenges it has presented; in reality, banning it doesn’t take it away.”
He added that, “even our Security Exchange Commission (SEC) also recognized cryptocurrency as a financial asset they need to regulate. What we should do is to invite the major stakeholders to a public hearing.”
Contrary to Senators Gyang and Abiru’s support for the ban on cryptocurrencies, Senator representing Lagos West, Solomon Adeola and former Ekiti State Deputy governor, Sen. Biodun Olujimi took a different position as they urged the Senate to invite financial regulators in the country to explain why the recent action on crypto transactions was taken.
Senator Adeola said: “I would indulge this Senate to allow the regulators also to be invited so that they can also tell the Committees their own position concerning the operation of cryptocurrency in Nigeria, Senator.”
On the other hand, Senator Biodun Olujimi also said that what can be done is to ensure bad people must not use it. She said the time has come that issues concerning cryptocurrency are harmonized.
In a related development, “The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it will put on hold, admittance into its Regulatory Incubation Framework for Fintech firms, all persons affected by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cryptocurrencies circular.”
“For the purpose of admittance into the SEC Regulatory Incubation Framework, assessment of all persons (and products) affected by the CBN Circular of Feb. 5, is hereby put on hold until such persons are able to operate bank accounts within the Nigerian banking system,” it said.
“The commission will continue to monitor developments in the digital asset space and further engage all critical stakeholders with a view to creating a regulatory structure that enhances economic development while promoting a safe, innovative and transparent capital.
“SEC has received several comments and inquiries from the public on a perceived policy conflict between the SEC Statement on Digital Assets and their Classification and Treatment of Sept. 11, 2020, and the CBN circular of Feb. 5.
“We see no such contradictions or inconsistencies.
“In recognition of the fact that digital assets may have the full characteristics of investments as defined in the Investments and Securities Act, 2007, the SEC Statement asserts that trading in such assets falls under SEC’s regulatory purview, except proven otherwise,” it said.
“In light of these facts, we have engaged with the CBN and agreed to work together to further analyse and better understand the identified risks to ensure that appropriate and adequate mitigants are put in place, should such securities be allowed in the future,” SEC said.