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CBN Withdraws Cybersecurity Levy Circular After FG Suspension

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rescinded its directive for banks to implement a contentious 0.5% cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions. This decision comes in response to widespread public backlash and the subsequent suspension of the levy by the Federal Government.

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

The announcement triggered significant public outcry, with labor unions threatening action and pressure groups criticizing the timing of the levy amidst a cost-of-living crisis exacerbated by rising inflation. In response to the mounting opposition, Information Minister Mohammed Idris announced the suspension of the cybersecurity levy on May 14, 2024.

In a subsequent circular dated May 17, 2024, the CBN referenced its earlier directive and informed financial institutions that the implementation of the cybersecurity levy was “hereby withdrawn.” This latest circular was co-signed by Chibuzo Efobi, Director of the Payments System Management Department, and Haruna Mustafa, Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department.

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