By Bakare Idris
The Association of Telecommunication Companies (ATCON) of Nigeria has kicked against the directive of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the collection of 0.005 per cent levy on E- transactions into National Cyber Security Fund account.
Speaking at a press briefing, the National President, ATCON, Mr. Olusola Teniola, stated that the implementation of this directive as an unavoidably lead to a sharp increase in ‘charges paid by customers’ for telecoms services.
The 0.005per dent levy implementation which is going to affect businesses such as are as follows: GSM Service Providers and all telecommunication companies; Internet service providers; Banks and other financial institutions; Insurance companies and Nigerian stock exchange.
He said the association has a mandate to protect the investment in the telecom industry from undue pressure from the government in the form of yet additional burden on our members that are already overtaxed by all tiers of governments.
According to him, “the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act 2015, Section 44 that the CBN seeks to implement, states in Section 44 an establishment of a National Cyber Security Fund.
“In Section 44.2 (a) a Levy of 0.005 of all electronic transactions by the businesses specified in the second schedule to this Act. Where in the Schedule five categories including GSM service providers and all telecommunication companies and Internet Service Providers are to apply this charge.
“ATCON believes any premeditated actions that are capable of killing the telecoms industry must be eschewed by all tiers of governments in Nigeria as the perceived benefits of imposing this levy on aforementioned businesses have the direct capability to erase if not destroy the achievements that have been made since the telecoms sector was liberated.
“We therefore advise government review this directive as it would affect some macro-economic elements such as loss of employment and we as Industry will have to increase prices to cover the collection, processing and pass on these costs to the 150million subscribers,” he said.
Furthermore, the President pointed out that ATCON has requested repeatedly to meet with Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to discuss some of the key issues that his members are facing with respect to sourcing for foreign exchange to purchase the needed equipment and the central bank of Nigeria has not honoured the invitation.