Cybersecurity Levy: Tinubu Suspends Implementation, Orders Review President Bola Tinubu has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the implementation of the controversial cybersecurity levy policy, which aimed to charge 0.5% on all electronic transactions. The move follows the House of Representatives' resolution asking the CBN to withdraw its circular directing banks to commence charging the levy. The CBN had issued a circular on May 6, mandating banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers to implement the levy, as provided for in the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) (Amendment) Act 2024. However, the policy sparked varied reactions among stakeholders, with many expressing concerns that it would increase the cost of doing business in Nigeria and potentially hinder digital transaction adoption. Tinubu's decision to suspend the implementation and order a review is seen as a welcome development by many, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which described the policy as "anti-people" and "insensitive." The Centre for Promotion of Private Enterprises (CPPE) commended the President for listening to the voices of the people, while the Director of Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) urged the Federal Government to consider a total cancellation of the policy instead of a temporary suspension. The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had threatened to file a lawsuit if the Federal Government did not withdraw the levy within 48 hours, stating that it violates the Nigerian constitution and international human rights obligations. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) also rejected the levy, demanding its reversal and prioritizing policies that alleviate the financial burdens of Nigerians. The development highlights the need for inclusive and consultative policy-making, ensuring that the voices of all stakeholders are heard and considered. As the review process commences, it is essential to prioritize the interests of Nigerians and promote policies that foster economic growth and development.

Tinubu Orders CBN To Suspend Cybersecurity Levy Policy

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President Bola Tinubu has intervened in the implementation of the controversial cybersecurity levy, ordering a suspension and review.

The move comes after the House of Representatives called for a withdrawal of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive on the levy, citing ambiguity.

The cybersecurity levy, set at 0.5% of electronic transactions, was scheduled to be charged by financial institutions following a circular issued by the CBN on May 6, 2024. The funds collected were meant to be remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund as per the provisions of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) (Amendment) Act 2024.

Financial institutions were directed to initiate the levy on May 20, 2024, with strict instructions to comply or face penalties outlined in the Act. However, concerns arose regarding the clarity of the directive, prompting the House of Representatives to demand its withdrawal and a more understandable replacement.

President Tinubu’s decision reflects sensitivity to the economic challenges faced by Nigerians, especially amidst ongoing reforms. Sources close to the presidency emphasized Tinubu’s reluctance to burden citizens further with additional levies, prompting the call for a review.

“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,” stated a senior presidency official.

READ ALSO: SERAP, BugiT, 136 Nigerians, Sue Nigerian Govt Over Cybersecurity Levy 

The decision to suspend the levy garnered mixed reactions from stakeholders. The Peoples Democratic Party welcomed the move, criticizing the initial policy as anti-people and insensitive. Similarly, the Nigeria Labour Congress voiced concerns over the financial strain imposed by the levy and demanded its reversal.

While some experts commended the President’s decision as a step in the right direction, others called for a total cancellation of the policy, citing its potential to exacerbate existing economic challenges.

As the debate over the cybersecurity levy continues, civil society groups like the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project have threatened legal action if the levy is not withdrawn within 48 hours, alleging a violation of constitutional provisions and human rights obligations.

In response to these developments, Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that the tax reforms initiated by the administration aimed to sustain investment friendliness rather than frustrate Nigerians. Shettima emphasized the need for administrative systems that benefit all citizens, highlighting the government’s commitment to inclusive policymaking.

As President Tinubu’s administration navigates the complexities of taxation and cybersecurity, the focus remains on striking a balance between economic stability and the welfare of Nigerian citizens.


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