Reactions as Northern Elders Challenge Central Bank’s New Cybersecurity Tax

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF), a prominent socio-cultural group representing the interests of Northern Nigeria, has voiced strong opposition to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) recent decision to implement a cybersecurity levy on bank transactions.

The group has branded the levy as arbitrary, unlawful, and insensitive to the financial burdens Nigerians currently face.

Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, made a statement on Thursday criticizing the new policy. He highlighted that the additional levy exacerbates the financial strain on Nigerians, who are already coping with multiple banking charges such as stamp duties, transfer fees, VAT, and SMS charges.

NEF is urging President Bola Tinubu’s administration to reconsider this decision and find alternative ways to support the financial health of citizens while still encouraging the adoption of electronic payments.

The forum detailed the various charges bank customers must now pay, which include cybersecurity levies that can range significantly based on the transaction amounts. These new fees add a considerable financial burden on both the sender and the receiver, potentially discouraging the use of digital transactions due to increased costs.

While NEF recognizes the importance of robust cybersecurity measures to protect electronic transactions, they argue for a more balanced approach. The organization stresses that security implementations should be cost-effective and not place an undue burden on consumers, especially in a nation battling economic challenges and high inflation rates.

The statement from NEF calls on the government and relevant stakeholders to review the policy thoroughly and address the public’s concerns about the additional financial pressure caused by the cybersecurity levy. The NEF emphasizes the necessity of a fair compromise that secures digital transactions while also alleviating the economic impact on Nigerians.

With this levy, initially outlined in a CBN circular to financial institutions dated May 6, 2024, deposit money banks and other financial services are expected to charge a 0.5% cybersecurity fee on transactions. The NEF’s response highlights the broader discomfort among Nigerians regarding this policy and underscores the need for government actions that foster economic growth and public welfare, rather than imposing further financial challenges.


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