Amb. Olusegun O!ugbile Ajasegun
Amb. Olusegun O!ugbile Ajasegun

Cybersecurity Expert Endorses CBN’s Levy with Cautions

A renowned cybersecurity expert, Mr Segun Olugbile, has endorsed the cybersecurity levy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) but with cautions.

Speaking to PRNigeria, Olugbile, who is the president and co-founder of Global Network for Cybersolution (GNC), said the CBN policy is a rehash of a law that has been there for many years, adding that the recent development is in the best interest of the country.

“The cybersecurity levy has been in place since 2015 and it is meant to fund cybersecurity initiatives, but there were issues with interpretation and application. The recent 0.5% levy aims to provide clarity and funding for cybersecurity, targeting specific industries. Funding for cybersecurity initiatives must be internal to ensure sustainability and avoid dependence on external sources.

“As a nation, we need sustainable National funding for cybersecurity and counterterrorism. Cybersecurity is a strategic component of National Security. The nation has a robust national cybersecurity strategy that remains unimplemented due to poor funding and a lack of understanding of the critical nature of digital infrastructures. Nigeria must fund its cybersecurity and counter-terrorism program not by foreign aid.

“We must own it and not dance to the tune of the donors. I commend the NSA, the CBN and other stakeholders that made this happen. The Cybersecurity levy has always been there in the Act since 2015, but the conflicting challenges in interpretations and applications of the provision made it difficult to implement.

“However, institutional accountability and inclusive engagement should now be the necessary common doctrine for the success of the cybersecurity program. The approach to national cybersecurity should no longer be the same as before.

“My key concern now is the operational viability of the implementing agency, since ONSA is now transiting from national security coordination and policy advisory to implementer of policy, the ONSA now needs to embark on a comprehensive review of the need for the setting up a National Cybersecurity Agency, accommodate contributions and engagement of stakeholders with strategic communication on key national values of the cybersecurity levy. It is about safeguarding the digital future of Nigeria.

“The government has already provided exceptions to shield other vulnerable investments and transactions. The impact of the cybersecurity levy should be matched with a strong commitment to monitor the activities of the implementers and ensure good governance and accountability,” he said.

Mr Olugbile tackled organised labour and opposition figures who he said are seeking to make political capital out of the policy, adding that there is a lot of ignorance among the populace on the necessity of the levy.

He noted further that all countries of the world invest a lot fortunes on protecting their cyberspace.

According to a circular recently issued by the CBN to various financial institutions including commercial, merchant, non-interest, and payment service banks, a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy would come into effect from May 20.

While a lot of Nigerians have kicked against the policy and organised labour said it is exploitative, Olugbile, however, said the levy will not affect most Nigerians since it doesn’t include salary payments among other exceptions.

Other exceptions include same bank transactions, loan repayments and disbursements, charitable organisations payments, payments for educational pursuits including tuition among others.