CBN Orders Banks to Implement Cybersecurity Levy on Transactions

By Joke Kujenya

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all the banks operating within the country to impose a cybersecurity levy on transactions.

In a circular released on Monday, May 7, the apex bank stated that the implementation on the levy would begin two weeks from the date of the circular.

The circular was directed to all commercial, merchant, non-interest, and payment service banks, marking it as a follow-up on earlier letters dated June 25, 2018 (Ref: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/05/008) and October 5, 2018 (Ref: BSD/DIR/GEN/LAB/11/023), respectively, focusing on compliance with the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act 2015.

Under the provision of Section 44 (2)(a) of the recently enacted Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2024, a levy of 0.05 per cent (0.005), equivalent to half a per cent of all electronic transaction values by business specified in the Second Schedule of the Act, is to be remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund.

This fund will be administered by the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

According to the CBN directive, all banks, financial institutions, and payment service providers are now required to implement the levy.

The levy will be applied at the point of electronic transfer origination, deducted, and remitted by the financial institution.

The deducted amount will be reflected in the customer’s account with the narration, ‘Cybersecurity Levy’.

Deductions are set to commence within two weeks from the date of the circular for all financial institutions, with monthly remittances of the collected levies in bulk to the NCF account domiciled at the CBN by the fifth business day of every subsequent month.

However, certain transactions are exempted from this levy, including loan disbursements and repayments, salary payments, intra-account transfers within the same bank or between different banks for the same customer, among others.

This directive follows the CBN’s recent efforts to regulate the financial sector, including barring fintechs from onboarding new customers and warning against crypto transactions.

Additionally, it comes shortly after the Federal Government directed Deposit Money Banks to begin the deduction of a 0.375 per cent stamp duty charge on all mortgaged-backed loans and bonds.

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