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    HomeGovernance, Policy & Regulations ForumPolicy & Regulations ForumControversial Cybersecurity Levy in Nigeria Halted After Parliamentary Intervention

    Controversial Cybersecurity Levy in Nigeria Halted After Parliamentary Intervention

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    In a recent development, the House of Representatives of Nigeria has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to retract a circular instructing all banks to levy a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions within the nation. This decision, as reported by The Nation, stems from a motion put forth by Kingsley Chinda, the representative for the Obio/Akpor Constituency.

    The circular in question, addressed to commercial, merchant, non-interest, and payment service banks, outlined the implementation of the levy starting two weeks from Monday, May 6, 2024. It detailed that the levy would be imposed at the origin of electronic transfers, with the deducted amount reflected in customers’ accounts under the label ‘Cybersecurity Levy.’

    Chinda, in his motion, highlighted concerns regarding the broad application of the levy, arguing that it extends beyond the scope outlined in Section 44(2)(a) of the Cybercrimes Act. This section specifically lists businesses subject to the cybersecurity levy in Nigeria, including GSM service providers, telecommunication companies, internet service providers, banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

    According to Chinda, the wording of the CBN circular allows for multiple interpretations, potentially leading to the levy being imposed on bank customers, which contradicts the intent of the Cybercrimes Act. He emphasized that such a misinterpretation could burden Nigerians, particularly amidst economic challenges such as subsidy removals and rising inflation.

    The lawmaker expressed apprehension over the implications of the levy, citing widespread public outcry on conventional and social media platforms. Civil society organizations and citizens have voiced opposition to what they perceive as an unjust imposition on Nigerians.

    Chinda urged swift action to halt the implementation of the levy, emphasizing the need for clarity and adherence to the provisions of the Cybercrimes Act. Failure to do so, he warned, could result in the erroneous enforcement of the Act, exacerbating the financial strain faced by Nigerians.

    The parliamentary intervention reflects a commitment to address concerns raised by stakeholders and ensure transparent and equitable implementation of cybersecurity measures in Nigeria. The decision to withdraw the circular marks a step towards resolving the controversy surrounding the cybersecurity levy and underscores the importance of legislative oversight in safeguarding the interests of the Nigerian populace.

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