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Expert Demands Reversal As Nigerians Blast CBN For Directing Banks To Collect Cybersecurity Levy



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been criticized for imposing a 0.5 per cent Cybersecurity Levy (CSL) on all electronic transfers effective May 20, 2024.

The apex bank said the directive issued to the commercial, merchant, non-interest and payment service banks, as well as mobile money operators, was not debatable.

THE WHISTLER earlier quoted the CBN saying, “A levy of 0.5 per cent equivalent to a half per cent of all electronic transactions value by the business specified in the second schedule of the Act, is to be remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF), which shall be administered by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

“Deductions shall commence within two weeks from the date of this circular for all financial institutions and the monthly remittance of the levies collected in bulk to the NCF account domiciled at the CBN by the 5th business day of every subsequent month.”

Speaking with THE WHISTLER, Nigeria’s first Professor of Capital Market Studies, Uche Uwaleke said the cybersecurity levy is ill-timed, coming at a time when the CBN is concerned about the high rate of financial exclusion and the increasing rate of currency circulating outside the banks.

He said, “It carries the downside risk of discouraging financial intermediation as well as complicating the transmission of monetary policy with more people shunning the banks due to high charges”.

According to Uwaleke the end result will be CBN’s inability to “tame inflation.”

He urged the CBN to immediately withdraw the circular as well as its decision to impose a 0.5 per cent CSL levy on Nigerians.

In his words, “I think the circular should be withdrawn especially against the backdrop of assurances by the government that its plan to increase revenue would not include introducing new taxes or increasing tax rates.

“The government should suspend the policy while getting set to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms whose mandate includes streamlining multiple taxes and levies currently inhibiting the growth of businesses in Nigeria”.

Reacting, some Nigerians took to the social media platform Facebook, a member of the meta family to criticize the development, alleging that the federal government only seeks ways to exploit the citizens rather than empower them.

A Facebook user by the name Jegede Momoh Emmanuel said, “What did I benefit from the government, nothing rather they are the ones benefiting from me, I will survive it by God’s grace.”

Idowu Iviolasemi questioned the development saying, “So, what about the deductions being made on all electronic transactions up until now? This will be an additional burden to Nigerians. No one knows what benefit we have from these banks,”.

For Samuel Toba Ogunniyi, he said the sufferings faced by Nigerians will be aggregated.

He stated, “This is not necessary, it will aggravate the suffering of the masses, the banks add almost nothing to the money kept with them now to start removing 0.5 percent in transfer, will this help to eradicate cybercrime, especially with funds in the banks?”

Also, Bello Salisu wrote, “They are good in collecting but they can’t give out. If they used the collections for our good, we would be glad to give them more but they used same to service themselves only. Life itself is supposed to be reciprocal but not with the Nigerian Government”.