The IMF’s demands to El Salvador on Bitcoin show the institution to be on the wrong side of history and is bullish for cryptocurrencies, says the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organizations.
The damning observation by deVere Group’s Nigel Green, a game-changing crypto advocate, follow the International Monetary Fund urging the central American nation to reverse its decision to make Bitcoin legal tender.
In September, El Salvador became the first country to allow consumers to use the cryptocurrency in all transactions, alongside the U.S. dollar.
Mr Green says: “Of course, the situation in El Salvador needs to be monitored extremely carefully and every precaution must be taken to ensure the Bitcoin rollout truly benefits the population.
“But the IMF asking a pioneering sovereign nation to drop a future-focused financial policy that attempts to bring it out of financial instability and a reliance on another country’s currency shows the institution to be on the wrong side of history.
“Bitcoin is the world’s largest digital currency –- and digital is the inevitable future of money.
“This is why more and more institutional investors, household name investors, Wall Street giants and multinational corporations are all sensibly, increasing their exposure to crypto and bringing with them capital, reputational clout and expertise.
“They understand and value the key characteristics of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are designed for this century and, therefore, are growing in appeal.
“These include that they’re borderless, making them perfectly suited to a globalised world of commerce, trade, and people; that they are digital, making them an ideal match to the increasing digitalisation of our world; and that demographics are on the side of cryptocurrencies as younger people are more likely to embrace them than older generations.
“For the IMF not to recognise this is baffling.”
He continues: “Is the IMF scared of the future of finance? Why do they continue to want to pile on debts to poorer countries that they know are unlikely to be able to repay using traditional currencies? Is the IMF worried about the domino effect of nation-state adoption that might weaken their dominant global influence? If so, is this a warning shot to those countries?”
When El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in September, Nigel predicted that three other countries would follow suit, perhaps as early as this year.
He said: “Low-income countries have long suffered because their currencies are weak and extremely vulnerable to market changes and that triggers rampant inflation.
“This is why most developing countries become reliant upon major ‘first-world’ currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, to complete transactions.
“However, reliance on another country’s currency also comes with its own set of, often very costly, problems. A stronger U.S. dollar, for example, will weigh on emerging-market economic prospects, since developing countries have taken on so much dollar-denominated debt in the past decades.”
The deVere boss went on to add: “By adopting cryptocurrency as legal tender these countries then immediately have a currency that isn’t influenced by market conditions within their own economy, nor directly from just one other country’s economy.
“Bitcoin operates on a global scale and therefore is impacted by wider, global economic changes.”
In addition, he noted, cryptocurrencies could also help “bolster financial inclusion for individuals and businesses” in developing countries as they “can circumnavigate the biases” of traditional banks and other financial services providers.
In regard to El Salvador’s response, a meme posted on Twitter by the president, Nayib Bukele, suggests his government is to reject the IMF’s calls.
Nigel Green concludes: “Institutions should be working with developing economies to find their way out of debt and financial instability in ways that are future-focused.
“Past methods, clearly, haven’t been as successful as they should have been.
“Therefore, it’s time to look ahead, not back.”
Farmers Are Refusing To Pay Back Loans – CBN Cries Out
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has cried out over the refusal of the majority of farmers who benefited from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to repay their loans.
CBN Development Finance Officer, Mr Sadeeq Ajayi revealed this at the Agribusiness Innovation Clinic.
He claimed that the majority of the beneficiaries regard the loan as their part of the national cake in his speech entitled Fostering Innovation and Collaboration Across the Agricultural Value Chain, which was organized by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).
He urged farmers who had delayed their agricultural loans to repay them, claiming that the CBN’s failure to retrieve the loans from defaulting farmers had jeopardized the plan and prohibited other farmers from using it.
“While the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme had recorded some level of success, the failure of farmers to repay the loans has, however, been a major setback.
“Many of the farmers refused to pay back their loans due to the misconception that since CBN is the lender, the loan is a ‘national cake’ and they do not have to pay back what they consider theirs as citizens.
“This attitude has made it difficult for other farmers, who also want to access the loan, to benefit from the scheme,” he said.
In 2021, about 2.85 million farmers benefitted from the Anchor Borrowers Programme. Investors King gathered that N554.63bn was disbursed, of which N61.02bn was allocated to 359,370 dry season farmers.
In its October monthly report, the CBN also revealed that the Anchor Borrowers Program disbursed N1.9 billion to 2,521 farmers to cultivate 8,963 hectares of land through three participating financial institutions.
Cassava, cotton, fish, groundnut, maize, poultry, rice, soya beans, wheat, cattle, sorghum, ginger, castor seed, sesame, tomato, cocoa, yellow pepper, oil palm, cowpea, and onion were among the crops cultivated on 3,097,834 hectares, according to the report.
ABP is an agricultural loan scheme launched by the federal government in 2015 through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide loans (in kind and cash) to smallholder farmers in order to increase agricultural production, create jobs, and reduce food import bills in order to conserve foreign reserves.
MTN Nigeria’s MoMo Formally Commences Operation
MoMo has commenced a full commercial Payment Service Bank operations, today, 19th May, 2022
MTN Nigeria’s subsidiary company, MoMo has commenced a full commercial Payment Service Bank (PSB) operations, today, 19th May, 2022.
This comes after a successful trial that began on May 16, 2022, to commemorate the start of MTN’s GSM operations on May 16, 2001, and MTN’s listing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited on May 16, 2019.
Investors King had reported the CBN’s approval of this process some months back stating; “This is the first step in the process towards a final approval, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions as stipulated by the CBN. The decision to issue a final approval is firmly within the regulatory purview of the CBN and we respect their right and judgment in that regard.
“MTN Nigeria affirms its commitment towards the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and continues to explore means whereby it can contribute to its fulfillment…”
MoMo PSB is determined to enable millions of Nigerians to access a broad range of financial service products. With an expansive agent network of over 166,000 active agents and digitized partnership infrastructure, MoMo PSB will continue to expand its agent network in order to serve Nigerians across the country and eliminate friction from routine transactions by digitizing cash payments.
Customers can open a MoMo wallet, send money to any phone number in the country, and pay their bills by dialing *671# from any network.
Furthermore, MoMo wallets will allow Nigerians in the Diaspora to send money to any phone number in the country in the future, a crucial feature considering Nigeria’s position as the top recipient of remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are grateful to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their support and guidance through the process,” said Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria. “This is an important milestone for MTN Nigeria in our mission to support the government’s drive towards financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Not just for those in urban centers and markets, but also people in the rural and remote areas of the country who remain excluded from the financial system,” he added.
MoMo PSB CEO, Usoro Usoro said: “Providing easy to use, accessible and affordable financial services to all Nigerians is essential to executing the CBN’s financial inclusion strategy and the digital inclusion agenda of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. We look forward to playing our part and are excited about the opportunities to partner with relevant institutions across various sectors to co-create and expand access nationwide.”
CBN Issues Directive For Open Banking to Improve Financial Services
In an effort to stimulate innovation and widen the range of financial products and services available to banks’ customers, the apex regulatory bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has established the legal framework for Open Banking in Nigeria.
This was revealed in a circular titled ‘Operational guidelines for open banking in Nigeria’ which was obtained by Investors King.
The Regulatory Framework for Open Banking in Nigeria, according to the CBN, establishes standards for data sharing across the banking and payments systems in order to stimulate innovation and expand the range of financial products and services available to bank customers.
According to the CBN, the financial sector data guideline would allow clients to access innovative financial products and services.
The Apex bank said: “Open banking recognises the ownership and control of data by customers of financial and non-financial services, and their right to grant authorisations to service providers to access innovative financial products and services. This is anticipated to drive competition and improve access to banking and payments services”.
The CBN also added that participants in open banking shall adhere strictly to security standards when accessing and storing data, and shall be subject to minimum privacy standards, operational standards, risk management standards and customer experience standards as prescribed by the Bank.
According to the CBN, any organization with customer data that may be transferred with other businesses in order to deliver innovative financial services within Nigeria is eligible to participate in the Open Banking ecosystem.
Open banking is a banking practice in which banks and non-bank financial organizations provide third-party financial service providers open access to customer banking, transaction, and other financial data via application programming interfaces (APIs).
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