Peter Obi Slams Government Over Cybersecurity Levy

Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s Presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, strongly criticized the Federal Government for introducing a cybersecurity levy on Nigerians. It was reported earlier that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mandated that all financial institutions initiate the deduction of a cybersecurity fee on electronic transactions starting from May 20, 2024. However, the ex-Anambra State governor accused the government of implementing policies that not only worsen citizens’ financial situations but also hinder the nation’s economic competitiveness.

Expressing his views on his verified social media account, Obi asserted that rather than fostering recovery and growth, the government seemed focused on draining the already struggling economy. He argued that the imposition of such a levy would only exacerbate the financial strain on Nigerians, who are already grappling with the consequences of Naira devaluation and soaring inflation rates.

In a post shared on his social media platform on Wednesday, Obi questioned the rationale behind turning the office of the National Security Adviser into a revenue collection agency. He found it unreasonable to expect the already burdened citizens of Nigeria to shoulder the financial burden of funding all government activities separately.

He said: “The introduction of yet another tax, in the form of Cybersecurity Levy, on Nigerians who are already suffering severe economic distress is further proof that the government is more interested in milking a dying economy instead of nurturing it to recovery and growth.

“This does not only amount to multiple taxation on banking transactions, which are already subject to various other taxes including stamp duties but negates the Government’s avowed commitment to reduce the number of taxes and streamline the tax system.

“The imposition of a Cybersecurity Levy on bank transactions is particularly sad given that the tax is on the trading capital of businesses and not on their profit hence will further erode whatever is left of their remaining capital, after the impact of the Naira devaluation and high inflation rate.

“It is inconceivable to expect the suffering citizens of Nigeria to separately fund all activities of the government. Policies such as this not only impoverish the citizens but make the country’s economic environment less competitive.

“At a time when the government should be reducing taxes to curb inflation, the government is instead introducing new taxes. And when did the office of the NSA become a revenue-collecting centre?

“And why should that purely national security office receive returns on a specific tax as stated in the new cybersecurity law?”

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