President Bola Tinubu has taken decisive action by suspending the controversial 0.5 percent cybersecurity levy. The announcement came after Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, revealed the decision following a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Tuesday.

Idris disclosed that President Tinubu had directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to halt the levy’s implementation and thoroughly review its modalities.

The cybersecurity levy, introduced by the CBN on May 6, mandated all financial institutions, including banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers, to implement it within two weeks. The levy, a provision of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) (Amendment) Act 2024, imposed a 0.5 percent levy on the value of all electronic transactions, with proceeds to be channeled to the National Cybersecurity Fund under the oversight of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

Minister Idris affirmed that the cybersecurity levy had been extensively deliberated upon during the FEC meeting, emphasizing President Tinubu’s sensitivity to the concerns of Nigerians.

The decision to suspend the levy comes from mounting opposition, culminating in a resolution by the House of Representatives on May 9. During a plenary session, House Minority Leader Kingsley Chinda and 359 other lawmakers sponsored a motion to withdraw the CBN directive to financial institutions.

Chinda highlighted the apprehension sparked by the levy, noting the outcry from civil society organizations and citizens across conventional and social media platforms. The resolution cited the ambiguous nature of the circular issued by the CBN as a key factor prompting the call for withdrawal.