Senate summons CBN governor, DG SEC over cryptocurrency ban

The Senate, on Thursday, mandated its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other financial institution, to invite the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele and the Director-General of the Security and Exchange Commission, Lamido Yuguda, for a briefing on opportunities and threats of cryptocurrency.

To join the Committee on Banking and Finance led by Senator Uba Sani are the Committees on Information and Communication Technology and Cybercrime and Capital Market, with Senators Yakubu Oseni and Ibikunle Amosun as chairmen.

The resolution was a sequel to a motion on CBN decision to stop financial institutions from transacting in cryptocurrencies.

According to the apex bank, its decision was informed by the need to safeguard the Nigerian economy from the adverse effects of the cryptocurrency regime which it said was unregulated.

Sponsor of the motion, Senator Dung Gyang, representing Plateau North said the action and directive of the CBN have attracted sharp reactions from Nigerians and has become a topical subject of national discourse.

The lawmaker noted that since the Senate realised that 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.

Contributing to the motion, Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-East, Bassey Akpan, said rather than frown at the cryptocurrency regime, the CBN should ensure that Nigerians adapt to it since it is the new trend globally.

He said: “Technology has changed the manner businesses are conducted globally. We started from barter and migrated to credit card. The next level is cryptocurrency and we can’t run away from it. It is CBN responsibility to bring Nigerians to the next level not discouraging it. It is the simplest way of exchange. I strongly believe that as Senate, we should be interested in how businesses are conducted.”

Senator representing Ekiti South, Biodun Olujimi called for regulation rather than aborting a transaction mode that has received a global blessing.

“We didn’t create it and can’t kill it. Definitely, the youths of today have moved on and the world has gone far. Nigeria can’t immune itself from this kind of transaction, we can only regulate it. I support this motion and I believe we should collectively add our individual voice to back it.”

Speaking with newsmen after the Senate plenary session, Senator Gyang said the fear of the CBN was understandable but maintained that the cryptocurrency exchange could not be wished away since it has its numerous merits.

He said: “Dealing with it is inevitable, it is something that we can’t run away from as a nation. We noted that it is the nature of the cryptocurrency that it is anchored on anonymity and you can’t track. And if you can’t track, you can’t uncover those that want to deploy the platform for ignoble usage.

“But since it has its merits, we want the CBN Governor to brief us on the opportunities that it offers the nation so that the nation and its citizens don’t miss out on the opportunities that it has to offer.

“So, what the Senate has resolved is for the appropriate Senate Committee to come and explain so that the nation doesn’t lose out on the opportunities that the cryptocurrency regime offers

“The CBN Governor will be a briefing and the Committee will report back to the Senate, so that the Senate will be properly guided on the best position to take on this matter.”

Senator representing Lagos West and co-sponsor, Adetokumbo Abiru said the apex bank should do further investigation to garner adequate information on the volume of operation of the cryptocurrency regime in the country.

“We can’t wish it away, the idea to ban is also welcomed because of the reasons they have adduced to check cybercrime and terrorism.

“But what we see today is that it is gaining ground and the CBN needs to dig deep down because the regime has gained grounds in Nigeria.

“Added to that is that last September, the SEC has identified it as a major transaction mode that they have to identify with. It is also a major employer of our teeming youths. So, whether you like it or not, you can only take control of what you see. So I am not sure the CBN can ban it.”

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Senate summons CBN Governor, DG SEC over cryptocurrency ban

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