CPC’s Mistake on Nigeria’s 0.005 Electronic Transaction Levy

CPC’s Mistake on Nigeria’s 0.005 Electronic Transaction Levy

I noted few days that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of the implementation of a certain section of the Cybercrime Act 2015 would be collecting a new levy on all electronic transactions into a National Cyber Security Fund account with the CBN. The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) hates that because it would make your phone calls and browsing more expensive since telcos would pass the costs to you. Banks, insurers and fintechs would also help to collect the new levies since anything electronic transaction would be levied the 0.005%.

But that is not the end of this matter as the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), a government-funded consumer protection institution, has put a note that telecom operators or other institutions cannot transfer the operating costs to customers [ we do assume CPC meant the 0.005% related operating cost].

The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has said telecom operators’ decision to transfer their operating cost to customers is unacceptable.

The Director-General of CPC, Babatunde Irukera, made this known at end of the E-Payment Providers Association of Nigeria workshop in Lagos on Sunday.

According to him, the 0.005 per cent directive imposed by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on all electronic transactions is an operational cost for operators and should not in any way be transferred to customers.

“At CPC, our main focus is the customer; that they are treated with fairness and with transparency.

“We are unwilling to accept the decision of operators to transfer the cost of business to consumers.

“What they provide is airtime and broadband and if they decide to make additional things to secure consumers, it is cost of business to them,” he said.

Certainly, no one will listen to CPC as any company that cannot cover its “operating cost” will cease to be in business, over time. While the CPC has the best of intentions, making such demands which no one would likely honor simply makes it irrelevant. I do hope this educates and informs CPC: all government imposed levies, taxes and fees are typically paid by customers. Where CPC does not want the banks, telcos and other digital institutions to charge customers more, specially related to his 0.005% levy, it needs to focus on government and ask it to drop the levy.

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