LCCI worried, kicks against bank’s charges on cybersecurity levy

Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has kicked against the Central of Nigeria (CBN) new directive for banks to charge 0.05 per cent cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions, saying that it will be heavy burden to individual and business.

The Chamber noted that by this directive, individuals and businesses will be burdened with an additional levy amidst unsettled performance crises with power supply after the recently reviewed electricity tariffs.

Reacting to the CBN directive , Director General of LCCI, Chinyere Almona, urged the government to reconsider the implementation of this cybersecurity levy as its timing is wrong, and the justification is unclear.

The LCCI also enjoined the CBN to withdraw the directive and call for more consultation with critical stakeholders.

Speaking further she said, “We believe that since the collection of this levy cannot guarantee the protection of payers from cyber-attacks, it is difficult to justify its collection at this time. In the same vein, the collection approach with some exemptions can create confusion regarding what transactions really qualify for the exemptions.

“Implementing this directive can gradually encourage some people to return to holding cash to avoid paying the levy. This can negatively impact the achievement already recorded with the cashless policy.”

Expressing the need for the government to work towards amending the enabling law to reflect current realities, initiate programmes that reflate the economy, and invest more in digital infrastructure to support business operations, she said the directive that the remittance of this levy should go to the Office of National Security Adviser suggests that the funds may not be used to enhance our cybersecurity architecture to guarantee cyber-safety for technology users in Nigeria.

The LCCI called on the government to harmonise its tax initiatives with the work done by the Presidential Committee on Tax and Fiscal Reforms to prevent multiple taxations and poor coordination of the expected new tax regime.

She however said at a time when government revenues are at record levels from higher crude prices, higher revenues accrued to the Federal Allocation Account, and saved resources from the stoppage of subsidies, stakeholders expected to see projects created to enhance the living standard of the people as a dividend of democracy for the sacrifices made by Nigerians.

She stated that in the face of biting inflation that has continued to weaken the purchasing power of consumers and with companies burdened with a rising cost of production, any further imposition of additional cost burden will slow down economic activities and drag the nation’s economic growth drive.