Cybersecurity levy: Why implementation can’t take off

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is expected to direct banks to suspend the implementation of the Cybersecurity Levy billed to begin on Monday, it was learnt at the weekend.

There has been an outcry since the CBN circular to banks on the levy was made public.

A source in the Presidency said the President, given his sensitivity to the plight of Nigerians under the current economic conditions, would not allow anything that would further stress the citizens.

Confirming the development to The Nation yesterday in Abuja, another Presidency source said the implementation of the Act was an Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) affair, with the CBN playing the middle role.

“He (The President) didn’t order the CBN. That is a wrong slant. It is not a CBN action; it is an ONSA action. The CBN only issued the circular to banks as implementing institutions.

“The President simply stopped the implementation for now to avoid putting extra burden on Nigerians. The NSA also didn’t get his approval before implementing the provision of the Cybersecurity Act.

“It is wrong to say he (NSA) ordered the CBN to stop. The CBN is not the originator of the action. It is the NSA,” the source added.

A CBN source said banks are expected to get an order to “ignore the implementation directive” this week.

The CBN official explained that the apex bank does not have the power to repeal any law but would engage the banks not to implement the cybersecurity levy deductions.

Reacting to the development, the Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, Taiwo Oyedele, said the Act, which originated from 2015, belongs in the category of old laws that his committee was working on.

“The law you’re talking about, I’m sure you’re referring to the Cybersecurity Levy. It is a law of 2015. So, these are the past issues we’re trying to deal with. That law was recently amended. But even the levy was in the original 2015 version. So, you can talk about the rates.

“We have to admit and recognise that these problems will not disappear overnight. It’s work in progress. We have not even submitted our work to the National Assembly,” he said.

Also, Senate Chief Whip Ali Ndume has praised President Tinubu for listening to Nigerians’ complaints and halting the implementation of the levy.


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