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Reps Direct CBN to Suspend Controversial Cybersecurity Levy

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CBN Cybersecurity Levy

The House of Representatives on Thursday directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend implementation of 0.5% cybersecurity levy on all electronic transactions within the country,

The motion on the urgent need to halt and modify the implementation of the cybersecurity levy was moved by the member representing the Obio/Akpor Constituency, Kingsley Chinda.

The circular, which was directed to all commercial, merchant, non-interest, and payment service banks, among others; noted that the implementation of the levy starts two weeks from Monday, May 6, 2024.

“The levy shall be applied at the point of electronic transfer origination, then deducted and remitted by the financial institution.The deducted amount shall be reflected in the customer’s account with the narration, ‘Cybersecurity Levy,’” the circular partly read.

In the motion, Chinda said, “The House notes that businesses which the said Section 44(2)(a) refers to are listed in the Second Schedule to the Cybercrimes Act to be GSM Service Providers and all telecommunication companies; Internet Service Providers; Banks and Other Financial Institutions; Insurance Companies and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

“The CBN circular mandates all banks, other financial institutions and payments service providers to implement the Cybercrimes Act by applying the levy at the point of electronic transfer origination as “Cybersecurity Levy,” and remitting same.

“The wordings of the CBN circular leaves the directive to multiple interpretations including that the levy be paid by bank customers, that is, Nigerians, against the letters and spirit of Section 44(2)(a) and the Second Schedule to the Cybercrimes Act, which specifies the businesses that should be levied accordingly,” the lawmaker noted.

The development according to the lawmaker “has led to apprehension as civil society organisations and citizens have taken to conventional and social media to call out the Federal Government to give ultimatums for a reversal of the ‘imposed levy on Nigerians’ among other things.”

He argued that unless immediate pragmatic steps are taken to stop the proposed action of the CBN, “The Cybercrime Act shall be implemented in error at a time when Nigerians are experiencing the aftermath of multiple removal of subsidies from petroleum, electricity and so on and the rising inflation.”

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