The Central Bank of Nigeria has frozen bank accounts belonging to 4 fintech investment startups.
The fintechs that have had their accounts suspended are:
The above fintechs will not be able to operate bank accounts in Nigeria for 6 months as CBN seeks to probe the financial activities of the players.
CBN is mainly alleging that the 4 services, by way of their parent companies, were complicit in operating without licenses as asset management companies.
Furthermore, they are accused of utilizing forex sourced from the Nigerian forex market for purchasing foreign bonds/shares in contravention of a CBN provision issued in 2015.
As a consequence of the forex trades that the companies were involved in, the bank is saying that the companies were making the Naira weaker to the United States dollars, hence, the need to block 15 of their accounts for 180 days.
Moreover, in an affidavit, the bank has claimed that the platforms were violating Nigeria’s trading laws including dealing in cryptocurrency in contravention of the CBN policy.
Two of the affected companies have since issued statements:
Investment fintechs have become popular, particularly among young urban Nigerians, allowing them to invest in foreign stocks and bonds, with experts saying they have increased financial inclusion in the country.
At the end of July 2021, Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) stopped the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in the country. It also halted the registration of new players.
According to CBN, this move was a result of the money changers becoming wholesale dealers and illegally trading FX to the tune of millions of dollars per transaction, yet the regulator expects them to not be making trades beyond $5, 000.
Following this directive, a few opinion leaders have expressed concern that this could further drive startups and customers into crypto.
The bank has also warned people who abuse the Naira by stepping and hurling it during social functions, that they face action from law enforcement.
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