Tinubu orders CBN to suspend implementation of cybersecurity levy

President Bola Tinubu has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend the implementation of the cybersecurity levy that was once imposed.

Recall that on May 6, 2024, CBN told all banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers to implement a new cybersecurity levy, following the provisions laid out in the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) (Amendment) Act 2024.

The decision to suspend the implementation of the levy came after the House of Representatives, which on Thursday, asked the CBN to withdraw its circular directing all banks to commence charging a 0.5 percent cybersecurity levy on all electronic transactions in the country, describing it as “ambiguous”.

According to the report, a levy of 0.5 percent of the value of all electronic transactions will be collected and remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund, overseen by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The development was in response to a motion on the urgent need to halt and modify the implementation of the cybersecurity levy, moved by Kingsley Chinda.

According to the House, the CBN is to withdraw the initial circular, and “issue a more understandable one”.

Chinda had drawn the attention of the House members to multiple interpretations of the CBN directive against the specifications in the Cybersecurity Act.

The House then expressed worry, that the Act would be implemented in error if immediate steps were not taken, to address the concerns around the interpretation of the CBN directive and the Cybersecurity Act.

Accordigng to report, the president was aware of the economic burden on Nigerians since his hardline economic reforms began last May, stating that he did not want to risk adding to the burden with more levies.

A senior presidency official stated that “The President is sensitive to what Nigerians feel. And he will not want to proceed with implementing a policy that adds to the burden of the people.

“So, he has asked the CBN to hold off on that policy and ordered a review. I would have said he ordered the CBN, but that is not appropriate because the CBN is autonomous. But he has asked the CBN to hold off on it and review things again.”

Another official said these discrepancies prompted the President to order a review.

“If you look at it, the law predates the Tinubu administration. It was enacted in 2015 and signed by Goodluck Jonathan. It is only being implemented now.

“You know he (Tinubu) was not around when that directive was being circulated. And he does not want to present his government as being insensitive. As it is now, the CBN has held off the instruction to banks to start charging people. So, the President is sensitive. His goal is not to just tax Nigerians like that. That is not his intention. So, he has ordered a review of that law.”

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