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May 15, 2024

ActionAid hails Tinubu over suspension of 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy

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Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu

By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja

As a relief on the suspension of the controversial 0.5 per cent of the cybersecurity levy on electronic banking transactions, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, Tuesday, hailed President Bola Tinubu for the action.

In a chat with Vanguard, the Country Director, AAN, Andrew Mamedu, described the suspension as cheering news.

According to Mamedu, Tinubu’s decision to suspend the 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy shows he listens to cries and concerns of Nigerians, however, he called on the President to totally reverse the policy.

President Bola Tinubu has officially suspended the controversial 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on electronic banking transactions as disclosed by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, on Tuesday, during the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting.

He said: “The recent suspension and review of the controversial cybersecurity levy by the President is indeed a cheering news, especially considering the outcry that greeted its initial implementation announcement. 

“It should go beyond suspension, but total reversal of that policy. This decision demonstrates responsiveness to the concerns of the public and the business community. 

“It also indicates a willingness to engage in dialogue and reconsider policies that may have adverse effects. The imposition of a 0.5% levy on electronic transactions appears to be an excessive financial imposition. 

“The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System in February 2024 said cashless transactions in Nigeria increased to N611.06trn in 2023. So, if the cybersecurity levy began in 2023, and 50% of the transactions get taxed, CBN would have raised N1.53 trillion from electronic transactions in that year.” 

However, he counseled that, “It is important for the CBN to prioritise the implementation of robust cybersecurity measures rather than resorting to tactics that may burden Nigerians. 

“Transparency and accountability are essential, and we expect these principles to guide any regulatory actions to ensure the public’s confidence and trust in the financial system.

“Overall, while ActionAid Nigeria applauds the efforts to reform the tax system and suspend the cybersecurity levy. 

“We eagerly anticipate the positive impact the tax reform will have on the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians operating within the informal sector.”

He also assured that, “AAN stands ready to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that these reforms translate into tangible improvements in the lives of ordinary Nigerians and contribute to the sustainable development of our nation.”