Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and bank customers have opposed the newly introduced cybersecurity levy by the Central Bank of Nigeria, demanding its immediate withdrawal.

The NLC on Tuesday in a statement signed by its President, Joe Ajaero, lamented that the levy was another anti-people policy of the government, imposed amid economic hardship.

Ajaero noted, “NLC vehemently condemns the recent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria to levy a 0.005 per cent ‘Cybersecurity Levy’ on electronic transfers.

“This levy, to be implemented by deduction at the transaction origination, is yet another burden on the shoulders of hardworking Nigerians. This move, ostensibly aimed at bolstering cybersecurity measures, threatens to exacerbate the financial strain already faced by the populace.”

Similarly, the Trade Union Congress on Tuesday kicked against the introduction of a cybersecurity levy by the Federal Government, describing it as a move that would drive Nigerians away from the formal banking system.

Speaking with our correspondent in Abuja on Monday, the National Vice President of TUC, Tommy Etim, said, “It is highly unfortunate. It is also another way to discourage people from banking. If people are discouraged from banking because of deductions such as cybersecurity levy, and admin charges, it means that the informal economy, manufacturing economy and entrepreneurs will suffer.

“It’s unfortunate that the government will carry out such a sensitive issue without stakeholder engagement. Nigeria is too big to be taken for granted. The time has come for them to know that democracy involves the people. The National Assembly should not allow this to happen otherwise it will be discouragement in terms of banking transactions. Nigeria’s problems cannot be solved overnight.”

He called on the government to stop implementation of anti-people policies.

The President of Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogubunka, told that the move would adversely impact the cashless and financial inclusion drive of the apex bank.

He said, “I do not call it charge; I call it tax. It is another form of government tax. It can never be a welcome one because they did not give us any reason; there is no justification.

“If you want to do such a thing, you must provide your reason or justification. What about those who do not have accounts in the bank for instance? So, how do you get their portions? For me as an individual, I think it is unfair and that the government did not come with clean hands. I cannot remember anybody being consulted before this kind of policy.

“What they are trying to do is to set us backwards. We are talking about less cash in this economy and now you want to be charging customers for making transfers. If you do not want to be charged then you carry your cash. How are we helping this other policy, if we go this way? I think they need to rethink it and have wider consultations.”

The CBN in a circular issued on Monday ordered banks operating in the country to start charging a cybersecurity levy on transactions in two weeks from the date of the issuance of the circular.

By Editor

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