In an apparent rebuke of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Vice President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo says the country’s monetary authorities must consider regulating crypto assets. He adds that instead of “killing the goose that might lay the golden egg”, Nigerian monetary authorities must consider providing a “robust regulatory regime” that addresses their concerns.
Still, in his address at a Bankers Committee meeting, Osinbajo says “he fully appreciates the position” that has been articulated by the CBN. Since the CBN prohibition went into effect, leaders at both the CBN and the Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have defended this decision.
However, in his speech, the Nigerian Vice President suggests that the country’s regulators must consider embracing emerging and disruptive technologies. Pointing to the past impact of some disruptive innovations, the Vice President said:
VP calls for robust regulation of cryptocurrency, not prohibition. He also calls for scaling up of govt/private sector interventions because "the task of national devp. requires that we fire on all cylinders, afterall at one stage China was building 1.9m housing units per year." pic.twitter.com/IDdg7NDi9i— Laolu Akande (@akandeoj) February 26, 2021
“As seen in many other sectors, disruption makes room for efficiency and progress.”
Meanwhile, Osinbajo, who seemingly wants both the CBN and the SEC to take a cue from these other sectors, says “there is a role for regulation” even with cryptocurrencies. Still, concerning this regulation, Osinbajo says:
So it should be thoughtful and knowledge-based regulation, not prohibition. The point I am making is that some of the exciting developments we see call for prudence and care in adopting them. We must act with knowledge and not fear.
Confusion Reigns Supreme
In the meantime, on Twitter, reaction to the Vice President’s comments appears to have reignited the controversy that surrounds the CBN prohibition. On one hand, crypto opponents have attacked qOsinbajo’s remarks while on the other hand, crypto players are lauding the Vice President’s comments. Still, others say the Vice President’s remarks laid bare the extent of confusion inside the Nigerian government.
A Twitter user known as Pedro Kalu said: “This shows lack of clear economic policy, The Vice-president is supposed to be the leader of the economic team and here he is speaking from one side of the mouth while the CBN Governor does another.”
This shows lack of clear economic policy, The Vice-president is supposed to be the leader of the economic team and here he is speaking from one side of the mouth while the CBN Governor does another.— PEDRO KALU (@Peddykal) February 26, 2021
Another user, Rancho remarks, “This should have been said to the CBN before they made that rash decision. A VP as sound [and] knowledgeable as Prof. Osinbajo should have been consulted. Right now, the govt doesn’t look or speak with one voice. Discordant tunes. Bad policies. Confusion everywhere!”
This should have been said to the CBN before they made that rash decision. A VP as sound & knowledgable as Prof. Osinbajo should have been consulted.— Rancho (@nnamossai) February 26, 2021
Right now, the govt doesn't look or speak with one voice. Discordant tunes. Bad policies.