Cybersecurity levy: You can’t tax people without increasing their income – Ndume


Senator Ali Ndume has condemned the controversial cybersecurity levy, saying that it is not proper for the government to continue to levy the citizens while nothing is done to increase their income.

The lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial District in the Senate, who was a guest on a live television programme on Friday, said that the proposed cybersecurity levy will increase the tax burden on Nigerians.

“You cannot be loading taxes on people when you are not increasing their income. Their source of income, you are not widening it, you are not increasing it. I am not part of those that support levying people anyhow,” Ndume said.

The Cybersecurity Act was recently amended by the National Assembly which Ndume is party, but he said that while he supported the Act, it was regrettable that he didn’t spot this part that has placed a burden on Nigerians.

“The amendment to the Cybersecurity Act, I supported it but not the nitty-gritty and I am not trying to run away from any blame. We have issues with cybercrime you know that, and there is a need for the government to improve the Cybercrime Act, that is what I understand by the amendment.

“Looking at the nitty-gritty would have been the responsibility of interested parties. If I had known there is an issue where a cost would be transferred to a customer or a Nigerian I would not agree,” he said.

Ndume said the lawmakers alone should not take the blame for the Act, saying that where some things escape the notice of the lawmakers, civil society organisations and the labour unions are supposed to point out grey areas during public hearing.

In a circular dated May 6, 2024 to all deposit money banks and mobile money operators and payment service providers, the apex bank directed the deduction of the levy to be remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund, administered by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The CBN directive has since been greeted by a deluge of condemnations, with the labour unions threatening a nationwide action should the government fail to withdraw the directive.

The House of Representatives has, however, asked the CBN to withdraw the circular directing financial institutions to commence implementation of the 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy, describing it as “ambiguous”.