CBN Retracts Circular on Cybersecurity Levy Implementation

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has retracted its earlier directive mandating a 0.5% cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions. The move comes in response to widespread public backlash and a subsequent suspension of the levy by the Federal Government.

The initial directive, issued in a circular on May 6, 2024, instructed deposit money banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers to deduct the levy and remit it to the National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF). The NCF is managed by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The announcement of this policy quickly led to public outrage, with labor unions threatening actions and various pressure groups criticizing the timing, given the current cost of living crisis and rising inflation.

In light of the controversy, Information Minister Mohammed Idris announced on May 14, 2024, that the Federal Government had decided to suspend the levy.

Following this, the CBN issued a new circular on May 17, 2024, officially withdrawing the previous directive. The latest circular, signed by Chibuzo Efobi, Director of Payments System Management Department, and Haruna Mustafa, Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, instructed all financial institutions to disregard the earlier instructions on the cybersecurity levy.

This retraction marks a significant response by the CBN to the concerns raised by the public and stakeholders within the financial sector.