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CBN withdraws controversial cybersecurity levy on transactions



Cybersecurity levy: CBN withdraws controversial directive

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has withdrawn its earlier directive for banks to implement a contentious 0.5% cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions.

The reversal comes in response to significant backlash following the policy’s announcement two weeks ago and its subsequent suspension by the Federal Government last week.

In a new circular dated May 17, 2024, the CBN referenced the initial directive issued on May 6 and advised financial institutions that the circular mandating the cybersecurity levy has been retracted.

The latest communication was co-signed by Chibuzo Efobi, Director of the Payments System Management Department, and Haruna Mustafa, Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department.

The original circular had instructed all deposit money banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers to deduct the levy and remit it to the National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF), managed by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The directive ignited widespread outcry, with labour unions threatening actions and pressure groups criticizing the timing amidst a cost-of-living crisis exacerbated by rising inflation.

The Federal Government moved to suspend the levy on May 14, following the public’s negative reaction.

“The CBN’s decision to retract the levy reflects our responsiveness to the concerns of Nigerians and our commitment to ensuring policies are in the best interest of the public,” read the latest circular.

This development marks a significant response to public opinion, highlighting the importance of stakeholder engagement in policy implementation.

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