Central Bank of Nigeria

The Northern Elders Forum, under the stewardship of Ango Abdullahi, vehemently criticized the Central Bank of Nigeria’s recent move to enforce a cybersecurity levy on bank patrons nationwide.

In a statement released from Kaduna, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, conveyed the organization’s dissatisfaction with the policy.

Citing the escalating costs of banking transactions due to multiple charges, the Forum criticized the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directives as “arbitrary, illegal, and out of touch with the realities faced by Nigerians.”

In light of this, the northern body implored the government to revisit the policy and seek alternative strategies to alleviate financial pressures on individuals, while simultaneously advocating for the uptake of electronic payment systems.

Drawing attention to the financial hardship faced by individuals in electronic transactions, the NEF underscored the impact of cybersecurity levies, alongside existing fees such as stamp duty, transfer fees, value-added tax, and SMS charges, exacerbating the burden.

The forum’s stance highlights the importance of considering the impact of regulations on ordinary citizens and advocating for measures that promote financial inclusion and alleviate economic challenges.

While admitting the critical nature of cybersecurity in securing digital transactions, the NEF stressed the need for a comprehensive approach that guarantees the affordability of security measures and avoids excessively taxing bank customers.

Read also: Cybersecurity Levy: Tinubu Out To Milk A Dying Economy — Obi

The NEF pointed out that in a nation already facing economic hardships and skyrocketing inflation, the additional financial weight imposed by the cybersecurity levy was unjust and disproportionate. They urged the government and pertinent stakeholders to find a viable solution that achieves an equitable balance between bolstering cybersecurity and easing the financial burden on the Nigerian population.

“It is imperative that the administration takes into account the concerns raised by a vast majority of Nigerians and prioritises policies that protect the interests of the people while also fostering economic growth and development.”

The forum’s viewpoint accentuates the significance of weighing the consequences of regulations on ordinary individuals and championing actions that enhance financial access and mitigate economic struggles.

“It is crucial that the government listens to the concerns of organisations like the NEF and works towards implementing policies that benefit all Nigerians, rather than burdening them with additional costs and hardships.

“It is essential to strike a delicate balance between enhancing cybersecurity and easing the financial burden on the populace, particularly at a time when the Nigerian economy is facing significant challenges due to inflation and other economic factors,” it added.

The NEF called upon the authorities and pertinent stakeholders to undertake a substantive review and devise a resolution that tackles the genuine apprehensions voiced by the public regarding the cybersecurity levy.

Africa Today News, New York 

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