Cybersecurity is on the increase, but the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) believes demands more tactical approach as against the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) and other electronic Payment Service Providers to comply with the provision for the collection and remittance of the 0.005 levy on all electronic transactions.
The Association has insisted that CBN’s approach is not in the best interest of the masses.
The CBN’s directive was contained in a circular entitled, ‘Compliance with the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015: Collection and Remittance of Levy for the National Cybersecurity Fund,’ posted on its website, which was signed by the Director, Banking and Payments System Department, Mr. Dipo Fatokun.
Similarly, the Information Technology Systems and Security Professionals (ITSSP) supported CBN’s moves, urging the affected institutions: GSM Service Providers and all telecommunication companies; Internet service providers; Banks and other financial institutions; Insurance companies and Nigerian stock exchange to comply as the funds shall be deployed into human capacity development in the sub-sector of the economy.
In a telephone interview with , ATCON President, Mr. Olusola Teniola, said, although the levy was based on an Act of the parliament, he however queried the rationale behind CBN’s decision to start implementation from a particular section of the Law.
He said, “As an Association of telecommunication companies in Nigeria, we shall continue to intervene where necessary to make life easier for our members, especially in aiding them to grow.
“On 0.005% cybersecurity levy; actually, it is based on an Act passed into law in 2015. However, we remain resolute on our position that government cannot bring in levies that do not really aid development, particularly on impacting on average Nigerian.
“Our argument is: the laws has many sections, but why start with section 44 that deals directly with the levy?
“Currently, we battle with 39 levies, rates and taxes which also include IT levies payable to different agencies. Our members still acquire hardware and software to battle cybercrime, yet the infrastructures are tolled when they are acquired.
“Meanwhile, both the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Information Development Agency (NITDA) have programmes/desks that are related to battling cybercrime. So, we frown at the CBN’s persistence to levy the operators who are already heavily billed by the system.
“Our position remains that the 0.005% is not in the best interest of the operators and this will also be passed down to the subscribers which we think is not in good fate”, he said.