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Only telcos, banks, NSE, internet service providers will pay Cybersecurity levy, Reps clarify

… Affirm institutions should not directly or indirectly pass the cost on ordinary Citizens

 

The House of Representatives on Wednesday clarified that the 0.05 percent cybersecurity levy does not apply to ordinary Nigerians but only to the establishments listed in the Second Schedule to the Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, 2015 which was amended in 2024.

 

The affected establishments are GSM Service providers and all telecommunication companies; Internet Service Providers; Banks and other Financial Institutions; Insurance Companies; and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The clarification was made during the debate on the motion brought under ‘Matter of urgent national importance pursuant to Order 8 Rule 5, sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda and seven others.

In his lead debate, Hon. Chinda underscored the urgent need to correct the wrong perception of the resolution passed by the House on the implementation of the Cybercrime Act.

He said: “The House notes that on 9th May 2024, the House considered a joint motion on the implementation of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, 2015  as amended in 2024 and resolved to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to withdraw the ambiguous circular of 6th May 2024 and in its place issue an unambiguous and unequivocal circular in line with the letters and spirit of the law and directed the House Committees on Banking Regulations and Ancillary Institutions to guide the CBN properly.

“The House notes further that the media space was awash with the wrong impression that the House of Representatives was against a Law passed by Her, which impression painted the House in bad light.

“The House is cognisant that the world is a global village and with the internet-of-things, crime is moving from meat space (real or physical world) to cyberspace without the physical limitations of boundaries.

“The House is further cognizant that cybercrime is more devastating and can cripple a nation easier than conventional crime in the physical space.

“The House is aware of the humongous cost expanded on security and the very likely limitations of funding cyberspace security by government.

“The House is further aware that some establishments carry out their businesses within cyberspace and make profits therefrom.

“The House is also aware that the Cybercrimes Act imposes a levy of 0.05% (0.005) on some establishments enumerated in the second schedule to the Act, that occupy the cyberspace; do business therein and make profit therefrom.

“The House states that the letter and spirit of the Law as crafted by the Parliament is not only commendable but in tune with contemporary trends and supportive of the global fight against Cyber Crime.

“The House further states that the levy does not apply to ordinary Nigerians but only to the establishments listed in the second schedule to the Act, viz:

(a) GSM Service providers and all telecommunication companies.

(b) Internet Service Providers.

(c) Banks and other Financial Institutions.

(d) Insurance Companies; and

(e) Nigerian Stock Exchange.

“The House also states Order 20, Rule 93 (2) (b) of the House Rules provides that ‘in the event of joint oversight on issues relating to cybersecurity, the Committee on National Security and Intelligence shall work with the Committee on Digital and Information Technology. In such cases, the Committee on National Security and Intelligence shall be the lead Committee,” Hon. Chinda said.

However, in his remarks, Hon. Abubakar Makki, who underscored the need to put measures in place to monitor the implementation process, averred that the affected organisations may directly or indirectly pass the cost of the cybercrime levy on ordinary Citizens.

To this end, the House urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) to cause further enlightenment on the Cyber Crimes Act and implementation of the 0.5% (0.005) levy.

The lawmakers also mandated its Committee on National Security and Intelligence as well as Digital and Information Technology to be part of the Committees to superintend over the implementation of the House resolution of 9th May 2024 on the Cybersecurity Levy, with the Committee on National Security and Intelligence as the lead the committee.

 

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