Defer Cybersecurity Levy, NESG Urges CBN - Economic Confidential

2024-05-09 20:45:30

Economic Confidential

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to defer the newly announced 0.5% cybersecurity levy on all electronic transactions value as specified in the Cybercrime Act.

NESG said this has become necessary as the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms is yet to finalise its mandate, one of which is aimed streamlining number of taxes in the country

This was contained in circular titled, "NESG Position on the Central Bank of Nigeria's Cybersecurity Levy" spotted by Economic Confidential on Thursday.

"This policy is coming when the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms is yet to finalise its mandate. One of the terms of reference of the Committee is that the number of taxes should be streamlined. Introducing a cybersecurity levy could thwart this essential mandate.

"To avoid conflict of interests and ensure no policy misalignment, the NESG strongly believes that the levy should be deferred and proper consultation until the Fiscal Policy Committee deems it necessary to implement it."

It further noted that though the levy is intended to fight cybercrimes and raise revenue, this is should not be done at the expense of the masses considering economic realities of Nigeria while also proposing alternatives to improving cybersecurity.

"It is noteworthy that the policy is intended to fight cybercrimes and raise revenue for the government. However, higher revenue should be achieved without imposing severe burden on poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

"The cybersecurity levy needs to be reconsidered, considering the CBN's concern about the high rate of financial exclusion and increased currency in circulation. At the NESG, we are concerned that implementing this policy at this critical time will decelerate the pace of achieving the 95 percent financial inclusion target of 2025.

"Furthermore, given the current strains that citizen face, perceived unfairness, lack of transparency and accountability would heighten distrust in the financial system. The NESG, therefore, suggests the need to reduce banks' transaction costs, signal clarity to improve trust in the financial system and to entice people to become financially included," the statement reads.

2024-05-09 News