The Nigerian Federal government said on May 3 it had passed what it called the “national blockchain policy.” The Nigerian minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami, said the new policy is a product of consultations with 56 institutions and personalities. Lucky Uwakwe, the founder of the technology service delivery company Sabi Group, said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is unlikely to reverse its stance on privately issued digital currency.

Blockchain Policy a Product of Widespread Consultations

The Nigerian Federal government recently approved what Isa Pantami, the country’s minister of communications and digital economy, has described as the country’s “national blockchain policy.” According to Pantami, the new policy is a product of widespread consultations with some 56 Nigerian institutions and personalities. Remarking on what this feat means for Nigeria’s blockchain industry, Pantami, who spoke after a Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by outgoing president Muhammadu Buhari, said:

With the approval of the national blockchain policy for Nigeria today, we can safely say that blockchain technology with all its components and types have been institutionalized in the country.

The minister added that the country’s security council and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) have been asked to jointly develop and formulate regulatory instruments for all sectors.

CBN Crypto Directive

Following the announcement, some players in Nigeria have speculated that the new policy signals a shift in the outgoing’s government disposition towards technology that underpins cryptocurrencies. In particular, the new policy gives hope to Nigerian crypto traders and enthusiasts still reeling from the effects of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s crypto directive.

Lucky Uwakwe, the founder of the technology service delivery company Sabi Group, said the new policy means the various players in the blockchain industry now have the official backing of the government. According to Uwakwe, the new policy also suggests that the technology is “here to stay.”

However, the Sabi Group founder told News that while the announcement is set to excite the blockchain industry participants, players in the crypto space fear that the new policy alone will not force the CBN to reverse its position on privately issued digital currency. This, according to Uwakwe, is because the central bank operates independently.

“The central bank is empowered by the law to act independently. If the CBN decides to see that even with this executive policy that has passed by the Federal executive council, if the central bank still sees it as a threat to financial stability, they still have the power to continue to maintaining that law [CBN crypto restriction],” Uwakwe said. According to Uwakwe, the only way the CBN’s crypto directive can be removed is when the central bank itself “deletes” the Feb. 5, 2021 directive.

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Terence Zimwara

Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

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