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Official: No More Cybersecurity Levy, CBN Confirms

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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In a move designed to appease public outcry, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has officially withdrawn its directive mandating the imposition of a 0.5% cybersecurity levy on all electronic transactions. 

The decision to suspend the levy, which was met with widespread criticism from Nigerians, brings an end to weeks of uncertainty surrounding the additional financial burden it would have placed on individuals and businesses alike.

Official: No More Cybersecurity Levy, CBN Confirms

Levy Imposed to Bolster Cybersecurity Efforts

The CBN had initially introduced the cybersecurity levy in April 2024, citing the need to ramp up efforts to combat the rising threat of cyberattacks within the Nigerian financial system. 

The levy, set at a rate of 0.5% of the transaction cost of all electronic transactions (including Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminals, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), internet banking, and mobile banking transactions), was intended to generate funds that would be channeled into strengthening Nigeria’s cybersecurity infrastructure.

Public Outcry Stalls CBN’s Cybersecurity Levy

However, the announcement of the levy was met with immediate resistance from the Nigerian public. 

Many Nigerians expressed concern that the levy would impose an undue financial burden on individuals and businesses already grappling with the economic challenges of the global pandemic. 

Critics further argued that the levy would stifle the growth of the digital payments sector, which has witnessed significant growth in recent years.

CBN Backtracks After Public Pressure

The public outcry against the cybersecurity levy intensified in the weeks following its announcement. 

Social media platforms were flooded with criticism of the policy, with many Nigerians calling on the CBN to reconsider its decision. 

The Nigerian Senate also weighed in on the issue, urging the apex bank to suspend the implementation of the levy pending further consultations with stakeholders.

In response to the mounting pressure, the CBN announced a suspension of the cybersecurity levy on May 17, 2024. 

The bank, in a statement signed by its Director of Information Technology (IT), acknowledged the concerns raised by Nigerians and assured the public of its commitment to finding alternative measures to address cybersecurity challenges within the financial system.

Alternative Solutions for Cybersecurity

The suspension of the cybersecurity levy has left many Nigerians wondering about the alternative measures the CBN will explore to bolster the country’s cybersecurity defenses. 

Cybersecurity experts have suggested a number of options, including increased government funding for cybersecurity initiatives, collaboration between public and private sector stakeholders, and the development of a comprehensive cybersecurity framework.

Read More: Pres. Tinubu Suspends the Implementation of the Controversial Cybersecurity Levy, Orders CBN for Review

Industry Stakeholders React to CBN’s Decision

The decision by the CBN to suspend the cybersecurity levy has been met with mixed reactions from industry stakeholders. 

While some have commended the bank for its willingness to listen to public concerns, others have expressed reservations about the long-term implications for Nigeria’s cybersecurity posture. 

The financial services sector is particularly interested in the alternative solutions the CBN will propose to address cybersecurity threats.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Cybersecurity in Nigeria

The suspension of the cybersecurity levy marks a significant development in the ongoing conversation about cybersecurity in Nigeria. 

While the immediate crisis has been averted, the challenge of securing the nation’s financial system from cyberattacks remains. 

The coming months will be crucial as the CBN and other stakeholders work together to develop a sustainable and effective strategy to address this critical issue.

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Oluchukwu Ikemefuna
Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

Oluchukwu Blessing Ikemefuna, a talented content writer from Anambra, Nigeria, found her writing passion in secondary school. Holding a degree in Biological Sciences from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, she specializes in blog writing across technology, finance, healthcare, education, and lifestyle sectors. With strong research and SEO skills, Oluchukwu creates engaging content globally. Her work aims to inspire and engage authentically while driving action. Outside work, she enjoys travel, reading, and movies as she grows as a skilled writer.

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