Press highlights IMF backing of Nigeria’s ban on cryptocurrency transactions, others

The International Monetary Fund's backing of the ban on cryptocurrency transactions by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the…

The International Monetary Fund’s backing of the ban on cryptocurrency transactions by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the directive by President Mohammadu Buhari to the military and police hierarchy to effect immediate rescue and safe return of all the abducted students are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.The Vanguard reports that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed support for the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that banks should close all accounts related to cryptocurrency transactions.

However, the IMF cautioned the Federal Government (FG) against increasing the tax rate in a bid to generate more revenue, saying, this is not the right time for such a move.

The IMF Resident Representative for Nigeria, Mr. Ari Aisen, stated this yesterday while speaking at a special virtual press briefing on the recently published 2020 Article IV IMF Staff Report for Nigeria.

Commenting on the CBN directive on crypto currencies, he said that there is global concern for some of the uses of crypto currencies which include illegal transactions such as money laundering and drug trafficking.

According to him, many central banks in the world have taken similar policy decisions similar to the one taken by the CBN.

The newspaper says that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday, at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, lamented the precarious state of insecurity and economic woes in the country.

The President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, at meeting raised the alarm that hardly does any day passes by without one negative report of citizens either kidnapped or abducted for payment of ransom.

He said the country was also faced with the challenge of criminals who hide under the camouflage of pastoralists to commit all sorts of crime against Nigerians, adding that the mindless bloodshed and misery that our current state of insecurity unleash points to a serious breakdown in governance.

In a communique read at the end of the meeting, he said, “There is no day in Nigeria that one form of violent crime or another is not reported. Many Nigerian citizens have been forced by the large scale spread of rural and urban violence to abandon their homes.

“Millions of Nigerians have become refuges in their own land. Many Nigerians yet to flee their homes have literarily become prisoners in their own homes as criminals have forced us into a state of perpetual tension and apprehension.

“Kidnap for ransom has been elevated to the status of jungle enterprise. The crime of kidnapping has become a no respecter of persons as the low and mighty are all vulnerable. Workers are also victims. Many of us no longer feel safe both at work and home,” he said.

The Guardian reports that following the attack on a college in Niger State, President Mohammadu Buhari, yesterday, directed the military and Police hierarchy to effect immediate rescue and safe return of all the abductees.

He also ordered that a team of security chiefs be dispatched to Minna, to meet with state officials, community leaders, as well as parents and staff of the college with a view to coordinating the rescue mission.

“Our prayers are with families of the victims of this attack,” the President said in a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, just as he condemned the attack on innocent school children.

Notwithstanding, the Senate, yesterday, asked the President to declare a state of emergency on security without further delay.

The Punch says that Marketers of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, on Wednesday met in Abuja on matters regarding the price of the commodity.

Although most filling stations in Abuja and neighbouring states of Nasarawa and Niger dispensed PMS at the approved N162/litre price, it was gathered that this price might be adjusted upwards in the coming days.

Filling stations such as NIPCO, NNPC and others located on the Kubwa-Zuba expressway in Abuja dispensed patrol at N162/litre on Wednesday. Some oil marketers said the N162/litre would not be sustainable, considering the recent rise in crude oil price.

Some filling stations in the Lagos/Ogun axis had on Tuesday adjusted their pump price to N170 per litre. Officials of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency said the downstream sector had been deregulated. They said that was why the PPPRA had not released any price guide for several months.

“The downstream sector has been deregulated; you know that. And you know that PPPRA has not released any guiding price for a while because the sector is deregulated,” an official of the agency, who pleaded not to be named, stated.

The Nation reports that members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) yesterday reacted to Nigeria’s inflation rate, which rose from 15.75 per cent last December to 16.47 per cent in January, this year, the highest since April 2017.

The OPS members included Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

While MAN said the rise was a threat to the envisaged recovery and growth of the industrial sector, LCCI said the development was not surprising, as the factors that had been responsible for the inflation were still at play.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its latest data released on Tuesday, said Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased by 16.47 percent, (Year-on-Year) in January 2021. It was 0.71 percent points higher than the rate recorded last December (15.75 percent).

ThisDay reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks to automatically open dollar bank accounts for their customers who do not have domiciliary in order to facilitate remittances.

The development, according to a statement from WorldRemit- an International Money Transfer Operators (IMTO), would ensure that, “all international money transfers will be successfully processed even if senders enter naira account details for transactions.”

“WorldRemit, welcomes the CBN announcement that all Nigerian banks will be mandated to facilitate money transfers by automatically opening US Dollar bank accounts for those who do not currently have US Dollar bank accounts,” it stated.

Furthermore, it revealed that, “the CBN also stated that a $2,000 withdrawal limit will apply to these accounts. A number of analysts have described this recent development as a long-awaited and broadly welcome policy that will benefit both senders and recipients.

“The apex bank has said these changes will ensure that transactions do not fail due to a recipient not having a US Dollar bank account. It will also introduce transparency by guaranteeing that all recipients receive an exchange rate that reflects the market rate.”