Tinubu Bows To Pressure, Orders CBN To Suspend Cybersecurity Levy

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend the implementation of the cybersecurity levy policy.

The directive is coming, following the decision of the House of Representatives, which asked the CBN to withdraw its circular directing all banks to commence charging a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on all electronic transactions in the country.

Recall that the apex bank on May 6, 2024, issued a statement mandating all banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers to implement a new cybersecurity levy, following the provisions laid out in the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) (Amendment) Act 2024.

INFORMATION NIGERIA learnt that financial institutions are required to apply the levy at the point of electronic transfer origination.

The statement reads: “All other Financial Institutions (Microfinance Banks, Primary Mortgage Banks, Development Financial Institutions) – Within eight weeks of the issuance of the Circular.”

However, some sources, on Sunday, with knowledge of Tinubu’s position on the issue told PUNCH that the President was aware of the economic burden on Nigerians since his hardline economic reforms began last May, adding that he did not want to risk adding to the burden with more levies.

A senior presidency official who preferred not to be named said: “The President is sensitive to what Nigerians feel. And he will not want to proceed with implementing a policy that adds to the burden of the people.

“So, he has asked the CBN to hold off on that policy and ordered a review. I would have said he ordered the CBN, but that is not appropriate because the CBN is autonomous. But he has asked the CBN to hold off on it and review things again.”

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Another presidency official who preferred to remain anonymous as he was not authorised to speak on the issue said these discrepancies prompted the President to order a review.

“If you look at it, the law predates the Tinubu administration. It was enacted in 2015 and signed by Goodluck Jonathan. It is only being implemented now.

“You know he (Tinubu) was not around when that directive was being circulated. And he does not want to present his government as being insensitive. As it is now, the CBN has held off the instruction to banks to start charging people. So, the President is sensitive. His goal is not to just tax Nigerians like that. That is not his intention. So, he has ordered a review of that law.”