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Nigerian finance minister asks SEC to address crypto regulations

nigerian-finance-minister-asks-sec-to-address-crypto-regulations
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Nigerian finance minister asks SEC to address crypto regulations

Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Wale Edun, has called for the creation of cryptocurrency regulations as the nation has been introduced to the newly inaugurated Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) board.

Local media quoted Edun urging the SEC to address the complexities of cryptocurrency regulation.

According to the minister, cryptocurrencies are a “fast-moving” and “complex” sector. As such, he deems stringent oversight as a necessity to retain the integrity of Nigeria’s capital market.

The minister’s comments came during the board’s inauguration in Abuja. 

The seven-member SEC board was approved by President Bola Tinubu on April 19, 2024. It includes SEC chairman Mairiga Katuka, director general Emomotimi Agama, executive commissioner of legal and enforcement Frana Chukwuogor, and executive commissioner of operations Bola Ajomale.

Since the board’s appointment, the SEC has unveiled plans to update its regulations on digital asset issuance, offering platforms, exchange, and custody. This comprised the introduction of a special compliance program called the Accelerated Regulatory Incubation Programme (ARIP) to help crypto entities comply with local requirements.

However, Edun believes these amendments are not enough. He warned that crypto entities could exploit the nation’s minimal registration requirements and urged for the implementation of corporate governance practices.

“You must also watch out for regulatory arbitrage,” Edun warned, adding that the commission needs to “quickly identify and disclose conflicts and adhere to global best practices.”

Further, he highlighted the need to stay informed and proactive, citing developments in digital currency, artificial intelligence (AI), and overall digital transitions.

“Unlike basic industries with settled technologies, the financial sector is rapidly evolving [..] To provide necessary approvals and guidance, the SEC must stay informed and adaptable.”

Katuka has responded to the minister, assuring that the SEC will be looking to create a more prosperous and resilient financial ecosystem. He also expressed optimism regarding Nigeria’s future economic outlook, adding that the current administration’s reforms would “engender economic growth.”

Regulators in Nigeria have been eyeing the use of emerging technologies to strengthen its economy. On July 4, The National Information Technology Development Agency in Nigeria announced its plans to deploy research centers focused on key technologies like Blockchain and AI.

These developments surface against the backdrop of Nigeria’s legal tussle with crypto exchange Binance and its executive Tigran Gambaryan, who has been detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) since February.

Despite calls from US lawmakers alleging baseless charges, Nigeria has defended the due process.