Still On The 0.5% Cybersecurity Levy

16 Bank Transactions Exempted From CBN's New Cyber Security Charges

Bank customers in the country are still discussing and protesting the new levy placed on thier electronic banking transactions, a move many have tagged anti-poor. Last Monday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had released a circular directing that all financial institutions begin to deduct 0.5 per cent of certain transactions from customers account. The deduction tagged cybersecurity levy becomes effective May 12, 2024, more than six years after it first proposed and is to be remitted to the National Security Fund which is being administered by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The directive which was supposed to take effect within two weeks had spiked agitation among bank customers and Nigerians at large. The protests had led to the House of Representatives asking the CBN to withdraw the circular directing all banks to commence charging a 0.5 per cent 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 had been moved by the member representing the Obio/Akpor Constituency, Kingsley Chinda. The lawmaker noted that 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 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.”Commenting, the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, described the levy as an anti-poor policy that would bring more hardship on the already improverished Nigerians “You cannot continue to punish the citizens. Nigerians have to be alive to be productive and contribute to the econmy.

If you continue to emasculate Nigerians with these harsh economic polices, Nigerians cannot be productive to contribute to the economy.”

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