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Nigeria suspends cybersecurity levy amid cost of living crisis

NIGERIA has suspended a planned levy on domestic money transfers to fund cybersecurity, Information Minister Mohammed Idris said, amid widespread public criticism of the scheme as the cost of living rises and the naira currency falls.

The central bank in a circular last week told all banks and mobile money operators to charge 0.5% of the value of electronic transfers as a cybersecurity levy, starting in two weeks.

“The cybersecurity tax policy implementation has been directed by the government to be put on hold, so it has been suspended,” Idris told reporters following a cabinet meeting in Abuja. He did not give a reason.

The new levy was planned as authorities clamp down on cryptocurrency, which they have blamed for Nigeria’s currency weakness.

The Nigerian naira has hit record lows due to dollar shortages as crypto transactions in the country have flourished. It lost over 15% of its value in less than two weeks after falling as low as 1,568 naira per dollar on Tuesday.