A new report, partly approved by the United Nations (UN) has stated that restrictions on cryptocurrency transactions and the ban on Twitter in Nigeria crippled foreign direct investment in the fintech industry and adversely impacted millions of young Nigerians earning a living from the sector.
According to the report, young people engage in jobs in the tech sector to survive but this can be adversely affected by varying government policies.
Nigeria is, by far, the leading country when it comes to bitcoin peer-to-peer trades on the continent even though the authorities in Nigeria, including the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), have adopted a hostile posture toward crypto.
2021 saw the government issue a raft of suspensions and bans as the federal government flexed its muscles in the height of increasing technology.
The suspension of Twitter on June 4, 2021 was part of several other similar actions in 2021 including:
- A directive stopping financial institutions from dealing in crypto (February 2021)
- The Central Bank of Nigeria froze bank accounts belonging to 4 fintech investment startups in August 2021
- The Central Bank suspended AbokiFX, an fx prices aggregator
- Fining 5 leading banks for dealing in crypto in October
In the report, seen by Nigeria’s Punch publication, young people are especially dependent on opportunities arising from the tech sector which it points out include:
- Creating apps
- Trading digital currencies
- Operating in social media marketplaces
- Gig work
According to the report:
“By doing this, many young people are able to plug into the global economy and make enough to get by. However, this involves the expense of data and devices, and can be frustrating when arbitrary government policies are enacted.”
The report is said to single out the fact that:
“The restrictions on cryptocurrency transactions and the outright ban of Twitter in Nigeria for crippling foreign direct investment in the fintech industry negatively impacted millions of young Nigerians who earn a living from the sector.”
However, ‘many have found a way, to lawfully bypass these restrictions and continue business, effectively denying Nigeria the taxes and transaction fees that would otherwise come into the system.’
The report, titled ‘Africa’s Urbanisation Dynamics 2022: The Economic Power of Africa’s Cities’ was published in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN), and the African Development Bank (ADB).
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