CBN Withdraws Circular On 0.5% Cybercrime Levy On Electronic Transactions

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has withdrawn the circular it sent to the commercial, merchant, and non-interest financial institutions, Payment Service Banks, mobile money operators and payment service providers, on May 6, directing them to commence the deduction of a 0.5 per cent levy on electronic transactions (cybercrime levy) for the National Cybersecurity Fund by May 20.

The apex bank announced this in a circular released on Sunday night, May 19 and made available to New Telegraph in Abuja.

Although the CBN did not give any reason for the withdrawal of the initial circular, New Telegraph reports that following widespread criticism that trailed the Bank’s first circular, President Bola Tinubu, last Tuesday suspended the 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who announced the suspension after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, said Tinubu directed the CBN to suspend the implementation and review the modalities for its implementation.

Idris said the cybersecurity levy was thoroughly discussed at the FEC meeting, adding that the president is not insensitive to the feelings of Nigerians.

On May 9, the House of Representatives asked the CBN to withdraw the directive to financial institutions to commence deduction of the 0.5 per cent levy on electronic transactions which would then be remitted to the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The green chamber passed the resolution for CBN to withdraw the directive during a plenary session, following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Kingsley Chinda, a House minority leader, and 359 other lawmakers.

“This act has led to apprehension as civil society organisations and citizens have taken to conventional and social media to call out the federal government, give ultimatums for a reversal of the ‘imposed levy on Nigerians’ among other things,” Chinda said.

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