JUST-IN: Reps Order CBN To Suspend Cybersecurity Levy

The House of Representatives has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to halt the proposed implementation of the cybercrimes.

levy of 0.5% imposed on electronic transactions by bank customers.

Consequently, the House directed the CBN to withdraw the ambiguous circular in existence, and issue an unequivocal circular in line with the letters and spirit of the Cybercrimes (Amendment) Act, 2024.

The Green Chamber also mandated its Committees on Banking Regulations, and Banking and other Ancillary Institutions to guide the CBN properly.

This followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by the House Minority Leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP Rivers) and 359 others.

Moving the motion, Chinda said CBN through a Circular to all commercial, merchant, non-interest and payment service banks; other financial institutions, mobile money operators and payment service providers (“CBN Circular”) dated 6th May, 2024 informed Nigerians of a proposed 0.5% levy on electronic transactions in line with Section 44(2)(a) of the Cybercrimes (Amendment) Act, 2024.

He noted that Section 44(2)(a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2024 provides that “a levy of 0.5% (0.005) equivalent to half percent of all electronic transactions value by business specified in the Second Schedule to the Act” be paid into the Cybersecurity Fund.

“Further notes that businesses which the said Section 44(2)(a) refers to are listed in the Second Schedule to the Cybercrimes Act to be: a) GSM Service Providers and all telecommunication companies; b) Internet Service Providers; c) Banks and Other Financial Institutions; d) Insurance Companies and e) Nigerian Stock Exchange.

“Concerned that the CBN circular mandates all Banks, Other Financial Institutions and Payments Service Providers to implement the Cybercrimes Act by applying the levy at the point of electronic transfer origination as “Cybersecurity Levy” and remitting same.

“Further concerned that the wordings of the CBN Circular leaves the CBN 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,” Chinda said.

The lawmaker expressed worry that this act has led to apprehension as civil society organisations and citizens have taken to conventional and social media to call out the Federal Government, issuing ultimatums for a reversal of the “imposed levy on Nigerians” among other things.

He argued that unless immediate pragmatic steps are taken to halt 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 others, amid the rising inflation.

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