Cybersecurity Levy: When Will President Tinubu Allow ‘The Poor Breathe’?

The imposition of a 0.05 percent cybersecurity levy deduction on electronic transfers by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is fundamentally unjust in an economy already burdened by poverty and reduced purchasing power due to inflation.

Development Diaries reports that the CBN on 06 May directed banks in the country to implement a 0.5 percent cybersecurity levy on electronic transfers.

Under the recently passed 2024 Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Amendment Act, a 0.5 percent charge on all electronic transactions was introduced with the goal of funding national cybersecurity initiatives overseen by the National Security Advisor (ONSA).

Unfortunately, the imposition of this levy at this time is not a welcome development, as this will only further increase hardship for the majority of Nigerians, who have already been complaining over certain charges on their transactions.

This action flagrantly violates both Section 14(2)(b) of the Nigerian constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations.

For context, section 14(2)(b) of the constitution provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

If President Bola Tinubu’s government is concerned about the welfare of Nigerians, it would be more concerned with addressing serious challenges like getting the economy back on the path of growth and addressing food inflation.

Such a levy will impact the financially vulnerable, as it effectively adds to the cost of transactions without corresponding benefits or protections for the populace.

In a nation where many struggle to afford basic necessities, directing additional financial burdens towards the populace will impede economic stability.

Also, the levy overlooks the pressing needs of citizens, prioritising revenue generation over addressing systemic issues such as poverty, hunger, and the erosion of purchasing power.

And by the way, why should a bank customer pay to ensure their money is safe in an institution that is supposed to secure their funds?

Development Diaries calls on the CBN to halt this directive while we urge President Tinubu to take immediate action to ensure that Section 44 and other oppressive parts of the Cybercrimes Act 2024 are repealed.

Photo source: CBN


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