At a time when different regions around the world are looking for ways to embrace blockchain technology, Nigeria has instead decided to not make any bold moves.
The reason for this approach was recently explained by Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Pantami in a New Telegraph report.
The top official pointed out that Nigeria has not fully moved to embrace Blockchain technology because it still has issues with cybercrime and tech infrastructure.
If the country were to adopt blockchain at this moment, it could be more harmful than profitable for the nation’s economy.
Dr. Isa said in the report,
“Sometimes, if you say you just go to new technology, there are many risks attached to it. So, it is better for us to study the situation and see what we can do. It is necessary for each country to study technology in relation to their peculiar challenges”.
While other nations around the world, especially in Europe and Asia, are finding it easy to trial blockchain technology for public service, it would present a big challenge if Nigeria tried to mimic others.
Underground Efforts To Introduce Blockchain Technology In Nigeria
Even though there have been no blockbuster moves to roll out the technology in the country, the IT regulatory agency chief shared into insights of what they have done about it.
These moves were taken shortly after an issue about blockchain technology was raised in July 2017. Dr. Isa said that after the meeting, the government had set up a Blockchain Advisory Forum. The consortium is made up of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and NITDA.
Each body in the Forum was charged with separate roles as outlined below –
- The Central Bank will provide policies and guidelines regarding financial transactions that would be carried out with blockchain technology.
- The Securities Commission is expected to come up with strategies on how to manage the platform.
- The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) will focus on guidelines and policies for blockchain technology adoption in the private and public sector.
- Additionally, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will come up with tax policies.
Dr. Isa confirmed that the agencies are still working at their respective assignments even though no timeline has been set for fulfilling their objectives.
Blockchain Technology Holds A Lot of Promise For Nigeria and Africa
Ever since blockchain technology was used as the foundation for developing the famous cryptocurrency, bitcoin, different world economies have discovered that the invention has a lot to offer the economy.
In fact, a popular Santander FinTech study confirmed that it could reduce the financial services infrastructure cost between $15 billion and $20 billion per annum by 2022.
Nigeria is one of the many African countries that are plagued with tax fraud and election crisis. Moving such public services to the blockchain will undoubtedly bring more transparency and efficiency to these systems.
Sierra Leone had earlier carried out an election using blockchain technology and even though the results were not really big, it was a move in the right direction.
Chief Executive Officer of Kure Holdings, Mr. Tega Abikure recently mentioned this in an interview. He said,
“Instead of government setting up committees to curb election malpractices, the simple thing to do is to take election to the blockchain.”
It will take more of action than words for the West African giants to fully embrace blockchain technology. The underground efforts of the appointed agencies is a step in the right direction, though and the masses will hope for more in the coming months.