While most countries, institutions and individuals around the world are cautiously waiting and welcoming the crypto revolution, there are some who believe that it could do more harm than good, and so are proactively looking to ban its trading in their economies. India is one such country, which is exploring banning crypto trading, while Nigeria has already done so, based on a government circular from a few days ago.
According to this, the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered financial institutions in the country to identify people and companies which are trading in crypto in the country, and close their accounts as soon as possible. It also threatened severe penalties for those institutions that did not comply with this order. This has come as a sudden change in bank policy in the country, and therefore a shock to most people, since crypto is one of the safest and speed payment methods. Also there are various sectors in Nigeria, not least the various online businesses which had begun utilizing crypto to improve their customers’ experience. One of the best examples of this was seen in the online gambling sector, which was experiencing a boom in any case due to the pandemic. This was improved even further when various online gambling providers began offering players the option to play bitcoin jackpot slots, and also using the underlying blockchain to strengthen their operations. Such websites have seen a lot more traffic and revenue increases since implementing these features, but this ban will now take away a significant client base, given that Nigerians have always been very fond of gambling.
One of the biggest questions around this ban is that crypto is supposed to be above regulations, since they are decentralized, so how exactly is it being banned in Nigeria, or indeed anywhere else. The point is that it is not crypto exactly which has been restricted – rather, the institutions and exchanges where people can trade in these assets are being ordered to close accounts. Thus, the network itself is being shut, which makes it impossible for users in Nigeria to be able to trade in crypto. It is similar to the way in which the Central Bank of Nigeria controls the financial system for any asset.
There has been no reason cited for this ban, but most observers believe it is to stop the flight of capital into crypto, and therefore away from the domestic fiat currency, which would weaken the currency. The naira, Nigeria’s currency, has been in free-fall for a number of years, and this flight of money into the dollar and now cryptocurrencies has only been worsening this trend. Thus, many Nigerians had been moving towards crypto as an alternative to receiving foreign remittances, which was taking away a source of foreign currency for the central bank. In fact, if the various remittance figures that different crypto exchanges put out are to be believed, there were transactions made for over $1.5 billion in crypto in the country last year, which is a significant amount. Another reason is the use of crypto during the anti-government protests in Nigeria, which allowed protesters to bypass local funding restrictions.
However, it is important that this decision does not yet make it a crime for people to own crypto – it only makes it extremely difficult to do so. Thus, we can expect more and more citizens to try and find innovative ways to trade and own crypto in Nigeria, as its benefits have already been seen, and there is an appetite for digital currencies that is not going to go away anytime soon.
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
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