Cryptocurrency: Senate tells its Committee to intervene in ban

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The Nigerian Senate on Thursday detailed its Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to interface with the Central Bank of Nigeria to proffer solutions to the ban on Cryptocurrency.

The decision was reached after a rigorous debate on a motion titled: “CBN’s decision to stop Financial Institutions from transacting in Cryptocurrencies and matters arising therefrom.”

The motion which was sponsored by Senator Instifanus Dung Gyang representing Plateau North Senatorial district pointed out that the ban elicited very sharp reaction from Nigerians, hence, the need for legislative intervention.

“Notes that the CBN has issued a directive stopping all Financial Institutions from transacting in Cryptocurrencies. This is a follow-up of its earlier directives in January 2017 and February,.2018 which forbade Banks to use, hold, trade and transact in Cryptocurrencies.”

Co-sponsor of the motion, Senator Tokunbo Abiru representing Lagos East Senatorial district said there was pressure on the society and that Cryptocurrency transactions have become a revolution, “so it is difficult to stand in the of a revolution like this.”

He said the transaction has become so attractive by the typical loss of value in legal tender and the recession occasioned by inflation.

“In Nigeria particularly, one cannot underscore the fact that in the last five years, people have been trading in Cryptocurrencies to the tune of over $500 million”, he noted

Last year, in particular, Nigerians had $40 million invested in Cryptocurrencies”, he maintained.

Senator Abiru acknowledged the challenges associated with Cryptocurrencies but added that the way forward was the proper regulation of the system.

“Of course, it comes with challenges, the challenge of Cybercrime, money laundering, terrorism financing and so on.”

Senators Biodun Olujimi, Albert Akpan and others who were unanimous explained that Cryptocurrency transactions are global and so can not be stopped but must be regulated within the ambit of Nigerian laws.

The prayer was amended to see that the Central Bank of Nigeria briefs the Senate Committee on the adequate understanding of the ban slammed on Banks and other Financial Institutions.

Having referred the motion to the Committee, Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan ruled that the report be turned in two weeks.

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