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CBN withdraws cybersecurity levy circular to banks

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rescinded its previous circular asking banks to apply a controversial 0.5% cybersecurity fee on electronic transactions.

The apex bank’s decision to remove the circular came after public outrage over the policy’s unveiling two weeks ago and the suspension of the fee by the Federal Government last week.

In its most recent circular, dated May 17, 2024, the CBN referenced to the earlier May 6, 2024 circular and informed financial institutions that the initial circular on applying the cybersecurity levy “is hereby withdrawn”.

Chibuzo Efobi, Director of Payments System Management at the CBN, and Haruna Mustafa, his counterpart at the Financial Policy and Regulation Department, co-signed the current circular.

In its initial circular dated May 6, 2024, addressed to all deposit money banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers, the apex bank directed that the levy be deducted and remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF), which is administered by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The announcement provoked widespread outrage, with labour unions considering legal action and pressure groups criticising the timing of the levy’s adoption amid a cost-of-living problem aggravated by growing inflation.

The Federal Government subsequently suspended the controversial cybersecurity levy on May 14, 2024.

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