Nigeria Labour Congress Condemns Cybersecurity Levy, Urges Government to Reverse Directive

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has strongly condemned the recent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to impose a 0.005 percent Cybersecurity Levy on electronic transfers. In a circular issued by the CBN, banks and payment service operators have been instructed to implement the levy through deductions at the transaction origination, starting within the next two weeks. The NLC argues that this levy places an additional burden on the already struggling Nigerian populace., pub-3822032484198406, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

While the NLC acknowledges the importance of cybersecurity in the digital age, it believes that imposing such a levy on electronic transactions without considering its implications for workers and vulnerable segments of society is unjustifiable. The Congress sees this levy as yet another tax that burdens Nigerians, adding to their financial responsibilities.

The NLC further criticizes the directive as part of a broader trend of exploitation and extortion by the ruling elite, allowing their associates in financial centers to indulge in excessive consumption. The Congress had previously called on the government to prioritize the welfare of Nigerian workers and the masses in its policies and actions, rather than prioritizing profit-seeking, which places additional pressures on the people.

The NLC questions whether it has become a crime for people to save their meager incomes in banks and suggests that the government’s intention might be to discourage electronic transfers and encourage cash transactions instead. Such a move would have adverse effects on the economy and the people.

Although interbank transfers and loan transactions have been exempted from the levy, the NLC emphasizes that everyday transactions will be significantly impacted. The deductions directly reduce workers’ disposable income and erode the purchasing power of the common citizen. The Congress highlights that domestic manufacturers and other businesses are already struggling in the stifling socioeconomic environment, and the new levy will further hinder their competitiveness and ability to expand, thus leading to potential job losses.

The threat of fines, amounting to not less than two percent of an institution’s annual turnover, for non-compliance adds additional pressure on financial institutions, which could ultimately trickle down to consumers. This, coupled with an already hyper-inflationary economy, would lead to further inflation and negatively impact domestic goods and services.

The NLC expresses skepticism about the effectiveness of such levies in improving the lives of citizens or enhancing infrastructural provisions, citing past experiences. The Congress views this cybersecurity levy as a severe burden on workers and the masses, without providing substantial social security benefits.

The recent implementation of stamp duty charges on mortgage-backed loans and bonds by the Federal Government has already strained the financial resources of Nigerians. The successive imposition of levies only exacerbates the existing economic challenges faced by the citizens.

The Nigeria Labour Congress calls on the Federal Government to reconsider these directives and prioritize policies that alleviate the financial burdens of Nigerians. The Congress urges a collaborative approach between the government, regulatory bodies, and stakeholders to develop sustainable cybersecurity measures that do not unduly burden the populace. The NLC emphasizes the need for breathing space for Nigerians, as they continue to navigate the precarious socioeconomic landscape.

The NLC reiterates its commitment to championing the rights and welfare of Nigerian workers and the masses, and it calls for an immediate halt to the implementation of the CBN’s directive on the Cybersecurity Levy.

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