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CBN Orders Banks To Charge New Cybersecurity Levy On Financial Transactions; SERAP Threaten Lawsuit

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks and other financial institutions operating in Nigeria to charge their customers a 0.5% “Cybersecurity Levy” on financial transactions. The directive was given via a circular issued on Monday, May 6,

The apex bank said the new levy is in compliance with the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act of 2015 and 2024.

The circular directed that the charges should be referenced as “Cybersecurity Levy“, and the remitted money will go to the National Cybersecurity Fund to be administered by the Office of the National Security Adviser to the President.

All transactions specified in the Cybercrime Act, Second Schedule are subject to the levy, except 16 types of transaction that were exempted.

List of 16 Exempted Transactions

Compliance Is Mandatory

The CBN circular clarified that the new charges will commence in two weeks of issuance of the circular, which will be May 20, 2024.

According to the directive, the deducted amount must be remitted monthly to the NCF account domiciled at the CBN.

Non-compliance, it warned, comes at a hefty penalty of a fine of not less than 2% of the annual turnover of the defaulting financial institution.

Civil Societies Kick

Many Nigerians, some opposition political parties and civil societies are expressing dismay at the new policy.

The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) issued a statement saying it strongly opposed the levy. It denounced it as “heartless, callous and unjust”, in the face of “ongoing struggles of Nigerians, including skyrocketing food inflation, fuel scarcity, a depreciating currency, and general insecurity”.

Meantime, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) – a human rights defender and advocate for good governance, is threatening a lawsuit if the government does not rescind the new levy. And it says it is giving the federal government 48 hours to do so.

The Tinubu administration must immediately withdraw the grossly unlawful CBN directive to implement section 44 of the Cybercrime Act 2024, which imposes a 0.5% ‘cybersecurity levy’ on Nigerians. We’ll see in court if the directive is not withdrawn within 48 hours“, SERAP warned.

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Iheanacho Achugbu
Iheanacho Achugbuhttps://joliba.com.ng
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