“Withdraw Cybersecurity levy directive or risk shutting down country’s economy” —TUC warns FG

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria has strongly opposed the recent cybersecurity levy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). They consider it a burdensome and unfair imposition on the general public that should be challenged.

The TUC didn’t hold back in criticizing President Bola Tinubu’s administration, stating that their policies have caused significant hardship and suffering for Nigerians.

File photo: TUC president, Comrade Festus Osifo, addresses the press

As a result, the Labour Movement has issued an ultimatum to the federal government, demanding that they instruct the CBN to withdraw the circular and cancel the proposed cybersecurity levy without delay.

It threatened that if the planned implementation of 0.5 per cent was not cancelled, TUC would have no other option than to mobilize all its members, stakeholders and the entire masses to embark on immediate protest that would culminate in total shutdown of the Nigeria’s economy.

In a statement issued on Wednesday which was signed by its President, Comrade Festus Osifo, the TUC alleged that so many policies of the 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 statement entitled, “Cybersecurity Levy: This Extortion is Vexatious and will not stand,” read: “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 percent cybersecurity levy on almost all electronic transactions. 

“It is indeed illogical that this is coming at a time that Nigerians are grappling with high cost of living that is imposed by devaluation of 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 on 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 government is poised to inflict further pain on the already battered Nigerians.”

Accusing the government of the day of stifling the business environment, the TUC said, “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.”

It accused the National Assembly of not being alive to its responsibilities, alleging that the federal lawmakers conspire with those exploiting the masses to inflict more pains on them.

 TUC said, “The National Assembly that 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 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 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.”

It said that what the government should be doing now is to ensure that it comes up with a new living wage that should take care of the immediate needs of workers.

“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 which 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 than to mobilize all our members, stakeholders and indeed the entire masses to embark on immediate protest that would culminate into total shutdown of the Nigerian economy as this is one exploitation too many.

Enough is enough; Nigerians must breathe! This extortions must stop,” it added.

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