Economy Shutdown looms as TUC Threatens FG over Cybersecurity Levy

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The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has issued a stern warning of a potential economic shutdown to the federal government in response to the proposed implementation of a 0.5 percent cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions.

TUC urged the Federal Government to intervene and instruct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to retract its directive to financial institutions regarding the levy to prevent such drastic action.

President of TUC, Mr. Festus Osifo, condemned the plan as illogical, especially amidst the challenges faced by Nigerians due to the high cost of living.

Osifo criticized the government’s policies, citing burdensome levies imposed on bank account holders and the overall unfriendly business environment leading to business closures.

He expressed concerns that the levy would exacerbate financial hardship, discourage financial inclusion, and worsen poverty levels.

Osifo emphasized the pressing need to conclude discussions on the minimum wage, highlighting the adverse impact of further reducing disposable income on already struggling citizens.

Also reacting, elder Statesman and Dean of Borno Elders Forum, Prof. Khalifa Dikwa, had said that President Bola Tinubu’s administration was blackmailed into approving the cybersecurity levy policy initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Dikwa made this statement in an interview on Channels Television on Wednesday, saying: “These forces can’t be seen and rely on intimidation to get their bidding done while saying the Tinubu administration is blackmailed into making these policies.

“It is the wrong time to impose the cybersecurity levy. I’m not surprised by the directive because Nigeria is seemingly controlled remotely by external forces.”

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has stepped down a motion seeking the suspension of the cybersecurity levy which has brought about negative reactions from Nigerians.

Honourable Manu Soro, who moved the motion on the floor of the house on Wednesday, noted that the levy was coming at the wrong time, considering the current living conditions of Nigerians. He had argued that the National Security Adviser is a political office and has no mandate to manage accruals.

The Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas, however, urged the lawmaker to step down the motion to allow the leadership of the House to deliberate on how best to tackle the situation.

Similarly, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, had described the planned cybersecurity levy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on all electronic transactions as another burden on Nigerians.

The levy’s introduction has sparked widespread criticism among Nigerians and civil society organisations.

Rejecting the policy, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in a statement, said such deductions directly affect the disposable income of workers and further diminish the purchasing power of common citizens.

He said the directive is another gang-up by the ruling elite to continue its extortion and exploitation of helpless workers and the masses.

“The Nigeria Labour Congress recognises the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital age,” the statement reads.

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