LCCI Voices Concern Over CBN’s Cybersecurity Levy Implementation Amidst Economic Challenges

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has expressed apprehension regarding the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive to banks to enforce section 44 of the Cybercrime Act 2024, which imposes a 0.5% cybersecurity levy on Nigerians. This directive comes at a challenging time for individuals and businesses already grappling with performance crises in power supply following the recent electricity tariff review.

Dr. Chinyere Almona, FCA, Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry, emphasized the adverse timing and unclear rationale behind the implementation of this directive. She highlighted the lack of a commensurate improvement in power supply despite the upward revision of electricity tariffs, urging the government to reconsider its stance. Dr. Almona advocated for the withdrawal of the directive and emphasized the need for extensive consultations with key stakeholders.

Against the backdrop of record-high government revenues from increased crude prices and higher Federal Allocation Account proceeds, Dr. Almona underscored the expectation for initiatives aimed at enhancing the living standards of Nigerians. She emphasized the adverse effects of further financial burdens on individuals and businesses amid persistent inflation and rising production costs, warning that such impositions could impede economic activities and hinder growth prospects.

Dr. Almona questioned the efficacy of collecting the cybersecurity levy, arguing that it may not guarantee protection against cyber-attacks. She raised concerns about the confusion surrounding exemption criteria and warned of potential repercussions, such as a resurgence in cash transactions to circumvent the levy, which could undermine the cashless policy’s achievements.

Looking ahead, Dr. Almona urged the government to amend existing laws to reflect current economic realities and implement initiatives aimed at stimulating economic growth. She called for increased investment in digital infrastructure to support business operations and expressed doubts about the utilization of levy proceeds by the Office of the National Security Adviser to enhance Nigeria’s cybersecurity architecture.

Furthermore, Dr. Almona urged the government to harmonize tax initiatives with the work of the Presidential Committee on Tax and Fiscal Reforms to prevent multiple taxations and ensure efficient coordination of the anticipated tax regime changes.

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