FG suspends controversial cybersecurity levy

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris

In a significant move, the Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the suspension of the controversial cybersecurity levy on electronic banking transactions. 

The decision was made during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday, May 14, 2024.

Nigeria's Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, revealed the government's decision while briefing State House Correspondents after the FEC meeting. 

He stated that the policy is currently undergoing a review, indicating that the suspension is a temporary measure while the government re-evaluates the levy.

“The position of the government is that that policy has been suspended. It has been put on hold. That is the position of the government for now. It is undergoing some form of review. It was reiterated in council (FEC meeting) yesterday, May 13, 2024. You know that today’s council (meeting) is a continuation of the council meeting of yesterday,” the minister said.

“So, I can tell you that the cybersecurity levy has been put on hold. It is being reviewed by the government.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on May 6 mandated banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers to implement the levy as contained in the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) (Amendment) Act 2024.

With the development, all electronic transactions were expected to attract a levy of 0.5 per cent. The money was to be remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund overseen by the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

But the move was greeted with outrage, prompting calls for its suspension.

Last week, the House of Representatives asked the CBN to withdraw the circular directing financial institutions to commence implementation of the 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy, describing it as “ambiguous”.

The development, according to a report of Channels Television, 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 Green House, the CBN is to withdraw the initial circular, and “issue a more understandable one”.
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