Consumer group demands reversal of cybersecurity levy


The Centre for Consumer Concern and Awareness Initiatives (CCAI), a not-for-profit committed to consumer protection, has taken specific notice of the newly introduced Cybersecurity levy of 0.5 per cent by the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on hapless bank customers in the country.

We are appalled by the apparent insensitivity of the government and the CBN to implement this unacceptable levy, especially at a time like this when Nigerians and businesses are faced with economic hardship, rising inflation and production cost, and attendant high cost of living.

The CCAI strongly believes that the ill-thought out policy of imposing on banking consumers such avoidable burden would impact cost of goods and services as businesses are wont to shift their cost to the consumers.

At the same time, it troubles us that both the government, which allocates huge amount in public funds to security annually, and the banking system, which appears to be surviving on the miseries of customers through unjustified charges, are not able to make sufficient investments in technology needed to safeguard our cyberspace and the financial system.

The CBN’s role in this saga leaves a bad taste in our mouths. We, instead, expect the CBN to perform its responsibility of ensuring that financial players, particularly money deposit banks and payment processors invest adequately in cybersecurity measures and to upgrade their infrastructure. Doing so definitely will protect customers’ deposits and shore up public trust.

At this point, it is instructive to say that no central bank globally charges citizens for provision of cybersecurity. Therefore, we view the National Cybersecurity Fund as anomalous; in as much as poor Nigerians are the ones to fund it. We therefore demand that the Central Bank of Nigeria restricts itself to initiating monetary policies and performing effectively its regulatory oversight in the financial sector.

Apart from the foregoing, implementing the Cybersecurity levy tends to reverse the gains achieved so far on widening financial inclusion, as many financial services users may devise other means to avoid the cost of electronic banking, thereby creating a drastic customer churn for the banks themselves. Were this to be the case, the banking sector may experience layoffs, which altogether would worsen damning joblessness in the country.

Based on the foregoing, we advise the federal government and the CBN to rescind the policy forthwith. We urge the national assembly to urgently review the Cybersecurity Act with a view to expunging Section 44 (2)(a) that imposes the obnoxious levy on Nigerians.

Fola Ademosu

Director, Media and Publicity




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