Despite opposition by many parties, notably those operating in the telecommunication sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a circular dated 25th of June 2018, has released guidelines for the collection of a 0.005% levy on electronic transactions for the National Cybersecurity Fund.
The levy collection will commence with effect from 1st of July 2018.
The apex bank had in March this year released a circular mandating banks to collect the levy on electronic transactions by the following parties: GSM Service Providers and all telecommunication companies, Internet Service Providers, Banks and Other Financial Institutions, Insurance Companies and Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The guideline for the levy is stated below:
- Electronic Transactions shall be all transactions occurring in a bank or mobile money scheme or any other payment platform that has a service charge.
- The levy shall be 0.005% of the service charge (exclusive of all tax effects) from all electronic transactions occurring in a bank, a mobile money scheme or other payment platforms.
- All electronic transactions (both inter and intra) that have an accompanying service charge shall qualify as eligible transactions.
- The effective date of collection shall be the 1st of July 2018.
- All levies collected should be remitted to the nominated T24 account number domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
- Operators shall remit the levy on a monthly basis using the effective date or date of commencement of business as the base month.
- For this purpose, the 5th business day of every subsequent month shall be the latest date for remittance.
Some of the service providers involved may decide to pass on the cost of the levy to consumers.
Telecoms operators, in particular, had kicked strongly. In their view, the levy would add to the already prohibitive cost of doing business in the country.
The National Cybersecurity Fund is a creation of the National Cybercrime Act of 2015. The Fund shall be administered by the CBN and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
In addition to the levy collected, the National Assembly from time to time may appropriate funds. A percentage of the funds collected will be allocated to countering violent extremism.
All monies accruing to the Fund shall be exempted from income tax and all contributions to the Fund shall be tax deductible. The law was passed following a high rate of online crimes in the country.