On the 6th of May 2024, the Central Bank of Nigeria (‘CBN’) issued a circular (PSM/DIR/PUB/LAB/017/004) addressed to ‘all commercial, merchant, non-interest and payment service banks; other financial institutions, mobile money operators and payment service providers.’ The circular self-describes as an ‘implementation guidance on the collection and remittance of the National Cybersecurity Levy’.

As a matter of background information, the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act 2015 had by its section 44(1) established a Fund to be known as the National Cyber Security Fund. Section 44(2)(a), which has now been amended as to be explained shortly, indicates that the Fund is to be domiciled at the CBN and had provided that there shall be paid and credited into the Fund a ‘levy of 0.005 of all electronic transactions by the businesses specified in the second Schedule’ to the Act. Further provisions in section 44(2)(b)-(e) list other sources of monies and accruals to the Fund while section 44(3) exempts monies accruing to the Fund from income tax, and also makes contributions into it tax deductible.

The second Schedule to the Act provides that businesses which section 44(2)(a) refers to are:

  • GSM Service providers and all telecommunications companies;
  • Internet Service Providers;
  • Banks and other Financial Institutions;
  • Insurance Companies;
  • Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Section 44(2)(a) has now been amended by section 11(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) (Amendment) Act 2024 to clarify the amount of levy to be collected and remitted as ‘a levy of 0.5% (0.005) equivalent to a half percent of all electronic transactions value by the business specified in the Second Schedule’ to the Act. Rather curiously, the amended version uses the word ‘business’ as opposed to the almost certainly more accurate and intended ‘businesses’ in the original provision. In any event, the new section 44(2)(a) at least seemingly now clarifies prior apparent ambiguity in relation to the amount of the levy.