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Thursday May 09, 2024 15:28 pm



By NEWS EDITOR
Abuja,   News


The House of Representatives on Thursday, May 9, directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately halt the implementation of the cybercrime levy introduced by the apex bank in compliance with the provisions of the cybercrime Act.

The House said the circular by the apex bank was prone to misinterpretation by Nigerians as it negates the spirit and letters of section 44(2a) of the cybercrime Act which specify those who are expected to pay the levy. 

Adopting a motion of urgent public importance moved by Minority Leader, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) on behalf of the entire members, the House asked the Central Bank to immediately withdraw it’s earlier circular on the implementation of the levy and issue another circular in love with the provisions of the Act. 

Chinda said section 44(2a) of the cybercrime act listed those to pay the stipulated fees as GSM abd telecom companies, Internet providers, Banks and other financial institutions, insurance companies and Stocks Exchange. 

He explained that the circular from the CBN has raised apprehension across the country as it has given the impression that the levy is to be paid by Nigerians in an era when they are still battling with increase in price of petroleum product among others.

He said: “The Central Bank of Nigeria, through a Circular to all Commercial, Merchant, Non-interest and Payment Service Banks, other Financial Institutions, Mobile Money Operators and Payment Service Providers dated 6th May, 2024 informed Nigerians of a proposed 0.5% levy on electronic transactions in line with Section 44(2)(a) of the Cybercrnmes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2024 (“Cybercrimes Act’). 

“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 this Act” be paid into the Cybersecurity Fund. 

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

“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. 

“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. 

“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, give ultimatums for a reversal of the “imposed levy on Nigerians’ among other things. 

“Unless immediate 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 experincing the aftermath of multiple removal of subsidies from petroleum, electricity and so on and the rising inflation.”

The Nation


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