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Ndume Commends Tinubu For Cybercrime Levy Suspension, Says It’s Not Government’s Intention To Add Extra Burden On Nigerians

Ndume Commends Tinubu For Cybercrime Levy Suspension, Says It’s Not Government’s Intention To Add Extra Burden On Nigerians

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, has commended President Tinubu for suspending the 0.5% cybercrime levy announced by the Central bank that is to be deducted from all electronic bank transactions, after the policy had drawn sharp criticism from Nigerians.

Ndume in an interview with ARISE news on Sunday, said the president’s move does not come as a surprise, describing him as a “listening, responsive, and reactive person,” who is concerned with the affairs of the citizens.

“What the president did by calling for the suspension of the cybersecurity levy, is something I expected from him because I have known him for a very long time and I know him to be a listening, responsive and reactive person. So, I am not surprised that he immediately ordered that it should be suspended. Secondly, it is good that the President has acted and so we will go back to the drawing table to look at the act again. When this administration came on board, the first issue that needed to be addressed was the issue of cybercrime. It is part of the purpose of government as outlined in section 14(2) of our constitution that the purpose of government is to ensure the security and welfare of the citizens.

“Cybercrime is an important part of security and that is why the government was in a hurry to look at the enabling law that was signed in 2015 and then strengthen it and give more powers to the institutions charged with that responsibility to ensure efficiency and address the serious cybercrime ravaging the country and spoiling our reputation and name.”

The Senator however conceded that the law was hurriedly passed, thereby leading to an oversight of some crucial details.

He also called on Nigerians to also look at the law and come up with possible implementable suggestions that will help fight cybercrime in the country.

“But I would have to say we were in a hurry and so we were not able to look at the nitty-gritty of the issue until the CBN made that announcement. Also, they didn’t look at it very well and you can see the reaction of Nigerians was not good. Of course, it is expected because, looking at the situation we have found ourselves, with a lot of burden on the common man and low-income earners, it is not the intent of the government to add another burden on the poor man or Nigerians in general.

“So, I really want to commend the president for that. I also want to urge Nigerians to agree with this government that this cybercrime issue is one that its law needs to be critically upgraded. Also, I was looking at the law after the outcry by some Nigerians and discovered that honestly, there were some lapses here and there that needed to be addressed. For example, the levy should be 0.5% of the value of the electronic transaction but the law did not clearly state who is going to be responsible for it and that is why Nigerians are worried. Although, the CBN circular as I looked at it, section 44(2) clearly indicates the institutions or businesses that should bear the cost of the levy.

“There are and will always be issues when laws are made and that is why laws are amended from time to time. So, what I am expecting from you is to go back to the law, thank God the amendment is just six pages to critically look at it and come up with a suggestion of what is acceptable. The good thing is that we have all agreed that we have cybersecurity issues that are spoiling the country’s name.”

Reflecting on the progress of the present administration, Ndume noted the government’s commitment to bold reforms, exemplified by recent policy decisions.

While acknowledging the associated challenges, he urged patience and cooperation from the citizens, emphasising the necessity of prudent policymaking amidst economic uncertainties

‘If I commend the government, you will say its because I am an APC man but he truth is that the president came with the zeal and anxiety to make effective change and having Nigerians to see a renewed hope and that is why I was not surprised when he, on the first day after his swearing in, announced the removal of subsidy, even though he confessed it was not part of his speech and that was because the man has the ability to take bold decisions. But, you know, such decisions that are critical, come with some pains. There would have been a better plan to accommodate the effect of the removal of the oil subsidy for example.

“So, Nigerians are going through very difficult situations and coincidentally, prices of commodities went up due to the Naira value jumping up to almost two thousand naira per dollar. But to be honest, this government or the president is taking bold steps that are necessary. The other thing is to improve on cautioning the effect of the bold and needed decisions and policies that the government is putting in place. So far it is only one year, it is a good start and the Nigerians should cooperate and be patient with the government so that all these corrective measures can be taken and so that all these corrections can be effected.”

Speaking on the issue of the demand for an increase in minimum wage by the organized labour, the Senator said there is a willingness to implement a minimum wage increase by the President, once an agreement is reached. However, he laid emphasis on the necessity for any proposed increase by Labour to be realistic and sustainable.

“The problem is the negotiation between government and labour and the government is dragging too long. If they had come to an agreement on what should be the minimum wage, the president had stated clearly that he is going to be ready to implement it but it has to be realistic, so that you don’t have an increase in salary and the government will not have the resources to pay them.”

Chioma Kalu

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