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TUC Threatens Nationwide Shutdown Over Cybersecurity Levy [see full statement]

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TUC Threatens Nationwide Shutdown Over Cybersecurity Levy [see full statement]

Should the Federal Government fail to revoke the contentious cybersecurity levy that the Central Bank of Nigeria recently imposed, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has vowed to stage a major protest that will bring down the whole Nigerian economy.

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In a statement released on Wednesday and bearing the signature of its President, Festus Osifo, the TUC denounced the CBN’s order to banks charging 0.5% of practically all electronic transactions as a cybersecurity fee.

This comes after the charge was harshly criticized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which called it yet another tax 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.

The union said it is disturbed that since the inception of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration, government policies have brought pain, anguish and sorrow to Nigerians.

It lamented that account holders in Nigeria are already dealing with multiple taxation from both the Federal Government and the banks.

The TUC berated the National Assembly for “colluding” with “elements in the executive” to “exploit” the citizens they ought to be protecting.

Saying that all Nigerians are interested in right now is the urgent conclusion of discussions around the minimum wage and not a “vexatious policy”, the TUC urged the Federal Government to immediately direct the CBN to withdraw the circular to banks and cancel the levy forthwith.

It said that it will be left with no option but to mobilize all its 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.”

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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