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Senate Sets the Record Straight on Cyber security Levy

Senate Sets the Record Straight on Cyber security Levy

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Senator Shehu Umar Buba, has addressed the controversy surrounding the proposed implementation of the Cyber security levy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The levy is provided for in the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2024. He clarified that the levy is not punitive as it has numerous exemptions to protect and relieve ordinary citizens, particularly the poor.

According to him, the exemptions include salary payments, intra-account transfers, loan disbursements and repayments, and other financial transactions. Galaxy Tv reports that Senator Buba said the amendments to the Cybercrimes Act were a collaborative effort with the National Assembly's ICT and Cyber Security Committee.

The committee also underwent a transparent public hearing process, receiving contributions from various stakeholders. Both Houses of the National Assembly unanimously passed it before President Bola Ahmed Tinubu signed it into law. Senator Umar emphasized that the provisions for the cyber security levy have been in place since 2015 but were delayed due to unclear interpretations and applications.

According to him, the Cybercrimes Act of 2015 has provisions for imposing a cyber-security levy since its enactment, but the vagueness of Section 44 led to different interpretations until the 2024 amendments. He added that the levy is 0.5%, equivalent to half a per cent of the value of all electronic transactions by businesses specified in the Second Schedule to the Act.

Senator Umar underscored the criticality of the cyber security levy's implementation, stating that its prudent utilization will bolster the nation's capacity to evaluate, execute, upgrade, and fortify the security of national critical economic infrastructure, thereby safeguarding the nation's cyberspace. The Committee commended the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for initiating the operationalizing the cyber security levy, highlighting its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks.

He expressed appreciation to the leaders and representatives of MDAs at the federal and state levels, as well as to all stakeholders who contributed to this effort's success. While maintaining that the Committee's mandate is to create laws that align with the aspirations of Nigerians, he appealed for public support, assuring that the policy will yield maximum benefits for citizens in the shortest possible time.

Following the enactment of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) (Amendment) Act 2024 and under the provision of Section 44 (2)(a) of the Act, a levy of 0.5 per cent (0.005) equivalent to half per cent of all electronic transactions value by the business specified in the Second Schedule of the Act is to be remitted to the National Cyber security Fund, which the Office of the National Security Adviser shall administer.

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