13th July 2024
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Cybersecurity Levy: Intent, Timing Right, But Strategic Communication Lacking – Ex-Lawmaker

A former member of the House of Representatives, Aliyu Gebi, has shared insights on the recent directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria requiring banks to start deducting cybersecurity levy on transactions.

The CBN had on Tuesday announced that a 0.5 per cent levy shall be applied at the point of electronic transfer origination, then deducted and remitted by the financial institution. The deducted amount shall be reflected in the customer’s account with the narration, ‘Cybersecurity Levy.’

However, speaking on Channels TV Politics today on Tuesday, Gebi said that the implementation of the law was overdue.

Although he agreed that the intent and timing of the levy may be appropriate, he raised concerns regarding the government’s strategic communication approach.

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He noted that Nigeria has faced challenges in fully implementing internationally agreed-upon cybersecurity protocols since 2015, attributing delays to security concerns and funding allocation issues.

“Nigeria has been postponing the full implementation of these internationally agreed protocols since 2015. You may recall I was in Parliament then in 2015. I think it was in April or thereabouts, that the Cybercrime Act was passed into law but we could not fully operationalise it because of certain constraints that we were undergoing especially the security challenge and where funds were being directed.

“But here we are today where it is an absolute necessity.

“If we know how much money we are losing, that the banks are losing, that account holders are losing, that the government is losing, because of weak implementation of cyber security protocols, we would pay the government more money to ensure that the government, the NSA implements it,” he said.

He added that Nigeria is more prone to cyber attacks than any other developing nation in the world considering the size and might of the economy.

“There is again no gain in saying the National Security Advisor, as the coordinator of all security agencies in Nigeria, must do the needful.

“Doing this needful requires funding. Everyone knows Nigeria, at this point, is not earning as much as it should be earning, or could be earning,” the former lawmaker added.Related News

He commended the timing of the bill, deeming it necessary.

He said, “The intent of the bill is right. The time is ripe. Is the time right for other things? Now this is a question that should be asked but is the time right for us to fully operationalise our Cyber Security Act and the Cybercrime Act of 2015 as amended? Yes, it is.”

But Gebi criticised the Federal Government for its inadequate communication with citizens.

“We don’t do a good job of communication. This is our problem. We don’t communicate strategically.

“When the Super Highway in Lagos started again, there was a lot of uproar again because there was no strategic communication people did not understand what was happening or the value they will get eventually when it happens,” he said.

He added, “We do a poor case of strategic communications, I believe the CBN should have communicated this better. I believe consensus should have been built, advocacy, enlightenment, getting people to understand what their money is going to buy them in the short medium and long term.”

Proposing a solution, Gebi said, “The beauty of participatory democracy is you and I have representatives at the local government at the state level and the Federal level.

“Let those who we have voted in to represent us gauge our temperature and ask for perhaps postponement, deferment or to ask for more explanation.

“What we should be asking for really is about oversight. How is that money going to be spent who oversees that money?

“What layers of the cyber security Spectrum will that money be spent on? What is the recourse? If I get perhaps threatened or if I get blackmailed by cybercriminals, how do I get or how do I seek recourse?”

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