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CBN Reverses Decision on Cybersecurity Levy After National Criticism

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reversed its decision to impose a cybersecurity levy on electronic transfers made by banks and other financial institutions.

Initially, on May 6, the CBN had instructed all commercial, merchant, non-interest, and payment service banks, as well as mobile money operators and payment service providers, to charge a 0.5 percent levy on electronic transfers.

This move was based on the recently enacted Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Amendment Act of 2024. The collected funds were to be directed to the national cybersecurity fund, overseen by the office of the national security adviser (ONSA).

However, in a circular dated May 17 and made public on May 19, the CBN announced the withdrawal of this directive. The circular was signed by Chibuzo Efobi, Director of the Payments System Management Department, and Haruna Mustafa, Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department.

The CBN stated: “The Central Bank of Nigeria circular dated May 6, 2024 (Ref: PSMD/DIR/PUB/LAB/017/004) on the above subject refers. Further to this, please be advised that the above-referenced circular is hereby withdrawn. Please be guided accordingly.”

The withdrawal followed a directive from President Bola Tinubu, who on May 14, suspended the cybersecurity levy and ordered a review of its implementation.

The levy had faced significant criticism, particularly from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which labeled it as an additional financial burden on Nigerians. NLC President Joe Ajaero, on May 7, argued that the levy would reduce workers’ disposable income and weaken the purchasing power of ordinary citizens. He also noted that domestic manufacturers and businesses were already struggling in the challenging socio-economic environment.



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