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ATCON frowns at CBN directive on eTransaction levy

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Olusola Teniola, president of ATCON

Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has decried recent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to all banks on the collection of 0.005% levy on all electronic transactions into a National Cyber Security Fund account within the CBN which they said will affect some businesses.

Olusola Teniola, national president, ATCON said that , the businesses which are to be affected 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 explained that, the eventual implementation of this levy of 0.005% would cripple if not render useless government and private sector efforts to speed up the broadband penetration in Nigeria, adding that ATCON has a mandate to protect investment in the telecom industry from undue pressure from the government in the form of additional burden on its members that are already overtaxed by all tiers of governments.

“The underlining reasons for our Position is that 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 to 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 stated

He noted that ATCON is of the opinion that formulation and implementation of policies are not properly coordinated, stressing that while some government agencies are working towards migrating all government services online some other government agencies are working towards discouraging people from making use of electronic channels via this obnoxious levy.

“It should be stated for the purpose of records that government should not think that the elasticity of demand for the use of electronic channels is inelastic as this move can stop people from transacting their businesses via available electronic channels,” he added.

He stated that they have made several request to meet with Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN to discuss some of the issues facing their members with respect to sourcing for foreign exchange to purchase the needed equipment that would enhance the telecom industry but to their surprise the central bank of Nigeria has refused to honour their invitation.

“We believe that any action that has the potential to destroy the telecoms industry should be avoided by all tiers of government in Nigeria as the accruable benefits of imposing this levy on our members are far lower than the revenue that it is going to create for the government.

“In view of this and other reasons enumerated above, the Association’s position is that the proposed levy of 0.005% tax bill should be withdrawn and its implementation seriously reviewed,” he said.


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