Nigeria set to pass a bill recognizing cryptocurrencies
Reports from the National House of Representatives in Nigeria have revealed that the nation will soon pass a bill that allows the usage of digital currencies.
By Anna B Kiwanuka
According to a report, the Nigerian government will soon approve a bill that will acknowledge the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a way to keep pace with global practices.
The news was reported recently following an interview with House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets Chairman, Babangida Ibrahim.
According to the report, if the Investments and Securities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill is signed into law it would allow the local Securities and Exchange Commission to recognize cryptocurrency and other digital funds as capital for investment.
Furthermore, Ibrahim stressed the need for Nigeria to keep up to date with trends and developments in capital markets.
He stated, “As I said earlier during the second reading, we need an efficient and vibrant capital market in Nigeria. For us to do that, we have to be up to date [with] global practices.”
The report comes almost 24 months after Nigeria banned crypto activity in February 2021, with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordering Nigerian crypto exchanges and service providers to cease activity and mandating banks to shutter the accounts of any individuals or entities found to be engaging in trading activities.
However, Ibrahim who served as Nigeria’s president between 1985 and 1993 insists that the passing of the law isn’t a 180-degree turn on the ban but rather a secondary review of what is within the scope of the CBN’s powers.
“It is not about the lifting of the ban, we are looking at the legality: what is legal and what is within the framework of our operations in Nigeria,” he noted.
He further explained, “When cryptocurrency was initially banned in Nigeria, the CBN discovered that most of these investors don’t even use local accounts. So, they are not within the jurisdiction of the CBN. Because they are not using local accounts, there is no way the CBN can check them.”
If the law passes, amendments will be made to Nigeria’s Investments and Securities Act 2007.
The report also further stated that in addition to the assignment of legal recognition to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the law will outline the regulatory roles of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria’s Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) on matters relating to digital currencies.
The law also comes as Nigerians have also shown little to no interest in Nigeria’s central bank digital currency, the eNaira, which had only obtained a 0.5% adoption rate in October, 12 months after its launch.