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‘it’s in the best interest of Nigeria’s national security’, Group drums support for cybersecurity levy

A group, the Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Transparency and Accountability, has said the recently introduced Cyber security levy is in the best interest…

A group, the Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Transparency and Accountability, has said the recently introduced Cyber security levy is in the best interest of all Nigerians.

According to the group, painful as this may be, the levy is inevitable, if the country must achieve the overall vision of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention Etc) (Amendment) Act 2024.

The group called on Nigerians to embrace and support the full implementation the levy.

Convener of the group, Comrade Igwe Ude-Umanta, at a press conference in Abuja, Saturday, also distanced the office of the National Security Adviser as the collector of the levy.

They called on the federal government to engage the citizens on what the levy is all about.

The CSO, said: “Let us expressly admit that many Nigerians are stressed and stretched and are therefore justified when they express displeasure and resistance to any form of levy or tax. Taxes and levies are not usually convenient for citizens, and this is a fact. However, the issue under discourse here is far more than the narrow and straight-jacket perspectives that have been promoted in the media.

“It is however incumbent on the Federal Government, particularly the CBN to provide the necessary enlightenment on this subject, and to engage stakeholders in achieving a seamless compliance. Right now, the right information is not in the public space and Nigerians cannot be blamed for regarding the levy with suspicion.

“As we now know, Section 44 (2)(a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention Etc) (Amendment) Act 2024 imposes a levy of 0.5% or 0.005 of all electronic fund transfers from the accounts from where the transfers are emanating. Many exceptions have been listed thereto in order to avoid levying where it is unacceptable like, on salaries, loans, linked accounts etc.

“The problem with this levy appears to be more about the misinformation, misconceptions, distortions and even outright blackmail, mischief and politicization of the issue. For instance, many Nigerians have been misinformed that all their electronic transfers will be levied, contrary to the exceptions that are listed in the CBN’s Circular.

“The allegation that the Office of the National Security Adviser will serve as a Revenue Collection Agency in this matter is not only a blatant lie, but also a clearly calculated political mischief and a deliberate campaign against a matter of important National Security. For clarity, this levy is to be collected by the CBN through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) PLC and domiciled in an account known as National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF). The National Security Adviser has nothing to with collecting the levy, keeping it or unilaterally dispensing of it. This narrative which has gained undue popularity is negative and in bad faith.

“It should be known that in the entire Cybercrime prevention architecture, the job of the National Security Adviser is that of coordination. There are other people in that set-up, including the Attorney General of the Federation who improves the legal framework; law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies who develop the institutional capacity required for the effective implementation of the Act and initiate, develop or organize national or international Cybercrime -related training programs.”

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