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TUC Threatens Nationwide Protest Over CBN’s Cybersecurity Levy

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has issued a stern warning of an impending nationwide protest that could paralyze the Nigerian economy if the Federal Government fails to revoke the controversial cybersecurity levy recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In a strongly worded statement signed by TUC President Festus Osifo on Wednesday, the union denounced the CBN’s directive to banks, imposing a 0.5% cybersecurity levy on nearly all electronic transactions. This move has drawn widespread condemnation, with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) also criticizing the levy as an additional burden on Nigerians.
Adding to the deluge of condemnations that have greeted the introduction of the levy which the CBN said will take effect in two weeks from May 6, the TUC said it is illogical that this is coming at a time that Nigerians are grappling with the high cost of living that is imposed by the devaluation of Naira, hyper hike in the cost of Petrol, supersonic increment in the cost of electricity tariff, etc.
Highlighting the burden of multiple taxation endured by Nigerian account holders, the TUC criticized both the Federal Government and banks for imposing additional financial strain on citizens.
Accusing the National Assembly of colluding with elements in the executive branch to exploit the populace, the TUC emphasized that urgent attention should be directed towards resolving issues such as the minimum wage, rather than implementing what it termed a “vexatious policy.”
Demanding immediate action from the Federal Government to revoke the CBN’s circular to banks and cancel the levy, the TUC warned that failure to do so would compel the union to mobilize its members and stakeholders for nationwide protests, culminating in the total shutdown of the Nigerian economy.
See full statement below:
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has received with a rude shock the recent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a circular to banks imposing a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on almost all electronic transactions. It is indeed illogical that this is coming at a time when Nigerians are grappling with the high cost of living that is imposed by the devaluation of the Naira, hyper hike in the cost of Petrol, supersonic increment in the cost of electricity tariff, etc.
We are quite disturbed that since the inception of this administration, its policies have brought pain, anguish and sorrow to Nigerians. Whereas a bank account holder in Nigeria today is currently charged stamp duty, transfer fee, VAT on transfer fee, and all forms of account maintenance levies by both government and the banks; this burden seems not to be enough as the government is poised to inflict further pain on the already battered Nigerians. So many policies of this government are not only imposing hardship on the downtrodden Nigerians but also on businesses, as some of them are shutting down because of the unfriendly business environment.
The National Assembly which ought to be the bastion of democracy and the protector of the citizens often times engages in collusion with elements within the executive to exploit the people. How can such an obnoxious law see the light of day in a truly people-oriented legislative house? This is indeed a conspiracy of the oppressors against the masses and citizens of this country and it must be resisted by all well-meaning Nigerians.
Financial analysts have done a preliminary estimate using the 2023 online transfer volume in Nigeria that fell within these categories and put the value at over 2 trillion Naira; what kind of cybercrime are we fighting with this humongous amount of money? This ugly development will further encourage people to hoard cash at home, reduce financial inclusion, increase poverty and exacerbate the misery index.
The cost of living is at an all-time high, food inflation is biting, all contributing to the miserability of Nigerians. This act is viewed as a deliberate plot to continue to drain Nigerians of their hard-earned money and we kick against this vehemently.
All Nigerians are interested in right now is the urgent conclusion of discussions around the minimum wage and not a vexatious policy that is further reducing the already depleted disposable income of the masses and indirectly ridiculing the gain that the minimum wage would have brought to the people when concluded.
We call on the federal government to give a marching order to the Central Bank of Nigeria to immediately withdraw the circular and cancel the planned levy forthwith; failure of which we will be left with no option but to mobilize all our members, stakeholders and indeed the entire masses to embark on the immediate protest that would culminate into the total shutdown of the Nigerian economy as this is one exploitation too many.
Enough is enough; Nigerians must breathe! These extortions must stop.
Comrade (Engr.) Festus Osifo
President, TUC.
8th May, 2024.
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