Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for a better understanding and regulation of cryptocurrencies in the country.
SEC Director-General of SEC, Lamido Yuguda, who made the disclosure at the 2021 post-Capital Market Committee (CMC) virtual news conference, said that the commission was in discussion with the CBN for better understanding and regulation of the crypto-assets market, adding that the capital market regulator had suspended the implementation of crypto assets guidelines due to lack of access to Nigerian bank accounts.
This suggests a major policy departure. The CBN had in February 2021, barred deposit money banks and other financial institutions from doing business with cryptos and other digital assets.
Yuguda in his statement said, “We are in discussion with CBN for both understanding and better regulating of this market. We will be able to come back to you later to inform you of the outcome of these engagements.
“But because of the lack of access to commercial bank accounts, we had to suspend our own guidelines of September 2020. The implementation of that circular is suspended until these operators are able to have access to Nigerian bank accounts.
“Remember that nobody operates in the Nigerian capital market if that person does not have access to a Nigerian bank account,” he said.
The SEC DG pointed out that SEC had always provided support to Fintechs and had invested so much in developing a framework to support their operations.
“Let me say that the SEC remains very supportive of fintechs. We have invested so much in developing a framework for supporting fintechs in the various areas and fintechs are acting in areas of crowdfunding, investment advice and cryptocurrencies and the like,” said.
He acknowledged the fact that the fintech market had been disrupted by the CBN’s ban on access to Nigerian bank accounts by the crypto exchange.
He said, “In all other areas, nothing has changed, but in the area of crypto assets, you know that with the recent prohibition by the CBN on access to Nigerian bank accounts by crypto exchanges, that market has been disrupted.
“And the truth of the matter is that while the SEC had issued guidelines in September 2020 aimed at regulating this market, for now for all intents and purposes, because these exchanges do not have access to commercial bank accounts in Nigeria, the market, for now, does not exist.”