Govt More Interested In Milking Dying Economy -- Peter Obi

Says the imposition of levies on Nigerians struggling financially by the government raises concerns about prioritising revenue collection over economic growth.
Peter Obi
Peter ObiGoogle Photos

Mr. Peter Obi, presidential candidate under the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 presidential election, has criticized the Federal Government for introducing a 0.5 percent cyber security levy.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has also criticized the Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) plan for this cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions, arguing that it would be an added burden on Nigerians. This criticism prompted a response from Obi.

In a circular to banks, the CBN announced a new cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions, effective two weeks from May 6th. The introduction of the levy has sparked widespread disapproval among Nigerians and civil society organizations.

The NLC has been particularly vocal, calling on the government to reverse the policy. The president of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, rejected the policy and expressed concern that the deductions would directly impact workers' disposable income and further diminish the purchasing power of ordinary Nigerians.

Obi took to his X (formerly Twitter) account on Wednesday to describe the levy as yet another form of tax on the struggling masses. "The imposition of the cybersecurity levies on Nigerians who are already financially struggling raises concerns about prioritizing revenue collection over economic growth. A focus on strengthening the economy could create a more sustainable source of funding for cybersecurity initiatives," he said.

The cybersecurity levy on bank transactions is particularly sad given that the tax is on the trading capital of businesses and not on their profit. Thus, it will further erode whatever is left of their remaining capital after the impact of the Naira devaluation and high inflation rates.

"It is inconceivable to place the burden of funding all government activities solely on citizens, and it can be challenging, especially during economic hardship. The Cybersecurity Levy, like other such policies, could potentially strain household finances and hinder business competitiveness by impacting spending power," he added.

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