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Senate Committee Supports 0.5% Cybersecurity Levy Despite Public Backlash

Senate supports cybersecurity levy despite public outcry
Senate supports cybersecurity levy despite public outcry

Despite widespread public outcry, the Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence has given its approval to the implementation of the 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy, as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The levy, which has faced criticism from citizens and pressure groups such as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Northern Elders Forum, as well as political figures like former presidential candidate Peter Obi, has been defended by the committee.

Chairman of the Committee, Shehu Umar Buba, clarified that the levy, outlined in the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) (Amendment) Act, 2024, is not intended to be punitive. He argued that it includes numerous exemptions to protect ordinary citizens, particularly those facing economic challenges.

The CBN’s directive, issued on May 6, mandates a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on all electronic transfers, with the funds to be remitted to the National Cyber Security Fund under the administration of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

Despite exemptions for various transactions including salary payments, loan disbursements, and government social welfare programs, questions have arisen regarding the clarity of the levy’s application since its initial provision in the Cybercrimes Act of 2015.

Buba emphasized that the 2024 amendments, a result of collaboration with the National Assembly’s ICT and Cyber Security Committee, were passed unanimously by both houses before being signed into law by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. These amendments, he stated, aim to enhance the nation’s ability to combat cyber threats and safeguard critical economic infrastructure.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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