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Crypto celebrates 365 days after CBN imposed ban

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Today, February 5, 2022 makes it exactly one year since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released a circular addressed to banks and other financial institutions with the directive that transactions in cryptocurrencies and facilitating payment for cryptocurrency exchanges were prohibited.

The CBN had further instructed all banks and other financial institutions to identify individuals or entities that transact in cryptocurrency or operate cryptocurrency exchanges and close their accounts.

That CBN letter elicited varied reactions from the Nigerian public with many expressing concern about the potential negative effect it could have on the country’s growing cryptocurrency market and innovation in financial technology. I believe I was one of the most vocal voices of reason calling for a better approach to the impasse between the apex financial institution and stakeholders of cryptocurrency in Nigeria.

Unbeknownst to the body, it actually drove awareness and subsequent penetration of cryptocurrency in Nigeria with its action. For one, the memo created interest in some Nigerians who were hitherto unaware of the existence or workings of cryptocurrencies. This also pushed its adoption as Nigeria became the biggest country with the adoption of cryptocurrency-Bitcoin- worldwide, second only to the United states, generating more than 400 million dollars’ worth of transactions.

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At the onset of the embargo placed by the CBN, I had advised the CBN to revisit the ban on cryptocurrency transactions and see digital currencies as another tool for economic growth. In fact, I challenged the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to a debate on the subject matter, a gauntlet he never picked. Towing my line of reasoning, The Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) also advised the CBN to carry out a comprehensive study on the workings of cryptocurrencies to check its excesses.

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Interestingly too, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, speaking at a recent CBN Bankers’ Committee Economic Summit, called for the regulation of cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria rather than an outright ban.

Osinbajo urged the apex bank to develop a robust regulatory system to check such transactions. “Rather than adopt a policy that prohibits cryptocurrency operations in the Nigerian banking sector, we must act with knowledge and not fear and develop a robust regulatory regime that is thoughtful and knowledge-based. There is no question that blockchain technology generally and cryptocurrencies, in particular, will in the coming years challenge traditional banking, including Central banking, in ways that we cannot yet imagine. We need to be prepared for that seismic shift. And it may come sooner than later,” he warned.

With all these warnings, it appeared that the CBN was set in its way, going ahead to introduce the e-Naira…something that could best be described as dead on arrival. A white elephant project that appears to be completely snubbed by Nigerians, the discussion on the e-Naira and its ramification to the growth of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria is a topic for another day.

I believe that the conversation on regulating cryptocurrency in Nigeria is not a foregone one as there is still time for the CBN to reverse its obnoxious stance on it. I reached out to the Nigerian Senate last year, urging them to tour the part of their counterparts in the U.S to investigate cryptocurrency and why it is thriving in Nigeria.

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Nigeria’s advantage in leading the adoption of cryptocurrency in the world should be an obvious pointer to the fact that no matter how it is being stifled, its trajectory can only be upward and forward. The sooner this is recognised, the better for the progress of the nation.

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The United States understands this and that is why they are quickly mapping out the framework for the regulation of cryptocurrencies in the USA media report stated it like this: “The White House is reportedly preparing an executive action that will instruct federal agencies with regulating cryptocurrencies. According to this source, the national security memorandum, which is expected to be released in February, would assign portions of the government the task of analyzing digital assets and putting together a regulatory framework that would cover cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

“This is designed to look holistically at digital assets and develop a set of policies that give coherency to what the government is trying to do in this space,” said the source. In particular, those involved in the initiative would be, the State Department, Treasury Department, National Economic Council, and Council of Economic Advisers.

Russia is also not left out of this. Understandably and quite like Nigeria, cryptocurrencies have been a controversial subject in Russia for many years. While the government has warned of illicit uses for cryptocurrencies, it eventually gave them legal status in 2020, but banned their use as a means of payment.

Like our own CBN, the Russian Central Bank suggested banning the usage, trading and mining of cryptocurrencies over concerns of illicit funding and financial instability. However, other authorities, including representatives from the Ministry of Finance, believe regulation to be preferable to restrictions.

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These conflicting approaches triggered President Vladimir Putin to request that the competing authorities “come to some kind of consensus,” at a recent government meeting. At the insistence of the central bank, the finance ministry prepared a concept for regulating the industry. Potential policies may include carrying out all crypto transactions through Russian banks, identifying crypto wallet holders, and classifying digital asset investors as either qualified or unqualified.

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It is not too late for Nigeria to tour the Russia and US part. As one of the frontline countries in the adoption of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria, we need to realise that the crypto is the new oil, crypto signifies much more than hope for the Nigerian youth and young at heart. Crypto is here to stay and suppressing it is akin to a waste of time. In the last 365 days, this has not done any good. In fact, it led to the soaring of cryptocurrency. What to do? Consider regulation!

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Prisca

    February 5, 2022 at 3:14 pm

    They indeed need to consider regulation.

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Real estate firm approves N14.50 dividend

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SFS Real Estate Investment Trust says it will pay N14.50 per share as dividends to its shareholders for 2023.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of SFS Capital Nigeria Limited, Patrick Ilodianya, disclosed this during the company’s general meeting held on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to Ilodianya, the SFS Real Estate Investment Trust, formerly known as Skye Shelter Fund, a subsidiary of SFS Capital Nigeria, witnessed a 70 per cent growth in net income to N317.5m in 2023 from N186.6m in the prior year.

“Concurrently, we observed a growth in dividend payouts of 71.60 per cent, nearly doubling,” he stated.

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The managing director explained that despite encountering challenging market conditions, SFS REIT consistently delivered dividends every year since its inception.

“In 2023, SFS REIT is proposing a dividend of N14.50 per share, marking this the highest dividend ever distributed in the Fund’s 17-year history.

“To contextualise these achievements, consider an investor who acquired SFS REIT shares on January 1, 2023, at a share price of N77.00. This investor would witness a capital appreciation of N24.35 per share (31.62 per cent), with the current share price standing at N101.35 per share.

“The overwhelming demand for shares has rendered them currently unavailable for purchase, as demand far exceeds supply. A dividend payout of N14.50 per share translates to an 18.83 per cent return compared to the share price on January 1, 2023, resulting in an estimated total return of over 50 per cent annually,” Ilodianya enunciated.

He spoke further that SFS REIT had invested in multiple units within organised and efficiently managed residential estates along the expanding Lekki corridor.

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He listed some notable investments, including Milverton Court Estate, Victoria Crest V Estate, Sapphire Gardens Estate, Maben Phase 2 Estate, Bourdillon Court Estate, Victory Park Estate, and Cromwell Court Estate.

He added that real estate returns remain stable while adjusting to inflation and consistently appreciating under skilled fund managers.

“Within SFS REIT, our Average Occupancy rate exceeds 98 per cent, while the average rental default rate remains below 1.5 per cent. Over the years, we have implemented various Proptech initiatives aimed at optimising rent collection, increasing occupancy rates, and reducing default occurrences.

“Leveraging technology, we have streamlined our property acquisition and disposal processes, enhanced tenant sourcing and appraisal procedures, automated entry/access control, and facilitated electricity vending.

“With 17 years of experience under our belt, SFS Capital Nigeria Limited remains exceedingly optimistic about the future. Positioned strategically, we are poised to implement innovative strategies to expand the fund and enhance its yield. While our current dividend payout of N14.50 per share represents the pinnacle in the history of REITs, we anticipate no decline. Instead, we envision SFS REIT continuing to deliver higher dividends in the foreseeable future,” he concluded.

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Cement price 69% higher in Nigeria than India – Reps C’ttee

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The House of Representatives Joint Committee investigating the arbitrary increase in the price of cement in Nigeria has lamented the cost of the commodity, compared to what obtains in other African countries.

Recall that on March 13, 2024, the House resolved to investigate the incessant increase in the price of cement following the adoption of the motion co-sponsored by Gaza Gbefwi (SDP, Nasarawa) and Ademorin Kuye (APC, Lagos).

On February 13, the Federal Government and cement manufacturers agreed to peg the price of a 50kg bag of cement between N7,000 and N8,000.

At the public hearing on the subject matter on Tuesday organized by the House Joint Committee in Abuja, the Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals, Gaza Gbefwi said there’s a need to address the situation, noting that in most African countries, the price of cement is lower compared to what obtains in Nigeria.

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He said, “Our findings showed that the price of cement is 69 per cent higher in Nigeria than in India, 39 per cent higher in Nigeria than in Zambia and 29 per cent higher than in Kenya given the official exchange rate.”

Speaking at the event, the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen represented by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, assured the manufacturers that the public hearing was not intended to witch-hunt them but an avenue to prefer solutions to the challenges affecting the housing sector, particularly the high cost of cement across the country.

…Details later

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MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria boosts reading culture, sponsors Uyo book club reading session

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A leading integrated marketing communications network, MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria, has announced its sponsorship of the Uyo Book Club, a vibrant community of book lovers based in Akwa State, Nigeria.

The event, aligned with MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria’s commitment to fostering creativity and knowledge, will be held on Saturday,25th May from 4pm at Shakespeare’sn Hall, Watbridge Hotel and Suites, Opposite Ibom Hall, IBB Way, Uyo.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria, Emeka Chris Okeke, described the sponsorship as another way of supporting initiatives that foster reading culture and promote literacy.

This is coming a few months after the company donated computers to Army Children Senior High School in Ikeja, Nigeria to empower students with the necessary tools for the digital age and improve their chances of success.

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He said, “MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria is excited to partner with the Uyo Book Club and help them continue to provide a platform for people to connect and explore the literary.

“At MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria, we believe in the power of stories to inspire and educate. We are committed to supporting initiatives that foster creativity, education, and community engagement.”

Responding to the sponsorship, the Founder and Father of the Book Club Initiative in Akwa Ibom State, Dr Udeme Nana, commended MediaFuse-Dentsu for sponsoring the book reading session.

He said, “Uyo Book Club, a community service initiative based in Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria, seeks to bridge the yawning gap observed in the reading habit of Nigerians. We are delighted to have MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria on board in the mission to re-awaken the culture of reading and also promote it among Nigerians.”

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MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria is a leading integrated marketing communications agency, offering a comprehensive range of services including media planning and buying, creative and content development, digital performance, location services, and public relations. The agency is a member of the Dentsu International network, one of the world’s largest marketing communications groups with a presence in over 65 countries around the world.

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The Uyo Book Club is a platform for passionate readers to connect, discuss literature, and share their love of books. The club hosts regular meetings, author events, and other literary activities.

 

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