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FG Suspends Cybersecurity Levy for Policy Review

The Federal Government announced the suspension of the cybersecurity levy on Monday, previously introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The suspension is intended to facilitate a comprehensive review of the policy.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, made this announcement to State House correspondents at the conclusion of a two-day Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting led by President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa.

“The cybersecurity levy has been suspended. It is undergoing review. It has been put on hold for now,” stated Mohammed.

This statement corroborated a Sunday PUNCH report that President Tinubu had called for the policy to be reassessed.

The CBN had mandated a 0.5% levy on all electronic banking transactions to mitigate rising cyber threats, as per the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) (Amendment) Act 2024. The measure was designed to strengthen the security framework of financial operations nationwide.

However, the levy faced significant backlash from businesses and the public, who feared it could worsen the already difficult economic situation.

Minister of Communication, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, also briefed correspondents about two crucial projects approved by the FEC to boost the digital economy and technology startup ecosystem.

The first project involves establishing a special purpose vehicle through a public-private partnership to deploy 90,000 km of fibre optic cable across Nigeria, increasing the total to 125,000 km and making it the third-longest terrestrial fibre optic network in Africa.

This project aims to address the underutilization of Nigeria’s eight submarine cables, currently at only 10% capacity. The deployment of additional fibre optic cables is expected to improve internet quality and reduce prices by about 60%. This investment is projected to contribute to a 1.5% growth in Nigeria’s GDP over the next four years and will connect over 200,000 educational institutions, government offices, and critical infrastructures like hospitals that are currently not connected.

The second project involves transforming a Nigerian property in San Francisco, USA, into a startup hub for Nigerian technology firms. This “Nigerian startup house” will serve as a base for Nigerian startups to access funding and investors in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, renowned for their startup ecosystem funding. Last year, investors from this region invested $1.3 billion into Nigerian technology startups, and the goal is to increase and enhance foreign direct investment in the technology sector from this region.

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