…says policy undergoing review

The Federal Government on Tuesday confirmed it has suspended the controversial cybersecurity levy on electronic banking transactions.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, gave the confirmation while briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House in Abuja.

He said the policy was undergoing a review.

The Nigerian Observer had reported on Monday that President Bola Tinubu had directed the CBN to suspend the levy, which had sparked outrage among Nigerians when the apex bank announced it on May 6.

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“The position of the government is that that policy has been suspended. It has been put on hold. That is the position of the government for now. It is undergoing some form of review. It was reiterated in the council (FEC meeting) yesterday. You know that today’s council (meeting) is a continuation of the council meeting of yesterday,” Idris said on Tuesday.

“So, I can tell you that the cybersecurity levy has been put on hold. It is being reviewed by the government,” he said.

According to the CBN May 6 circular, banks, mobile money operators and payment service providers were mandated to implement the levy as contained in the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) (Amendment) Act 2024, which meant that all electronic transactions would attract a levy of 0.5 per cent. The money was to be remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund overseen by the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

But following an outrage against the policy, the House of Representatives last week asked the CBN to withdraw its earlier circular on implementation of the cybersecurity levy, describing it as “ambiguous”.