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Enhance cybersecurity in financial sector, IMF urges FG

10th May 2024

The International Monetary Fund has asked the Nigerian government to develop a “robust and adequate” framework to tackle cybercrime in the financial sector.

Responding to questions on the new cybercrime levy during a virtual media briefing on the release of Nigeria’s Article IV Consultation staff report on Thursday, IMF’s resident representative for Nigeria, Christian Ebeke, said cybersecurity is a critical issue.

Ebeke said it is something that needs to be taken very seriously because of the potential financial instability repercussions of cybersecurity issues.

“For context, Africa is said to be losing $4bn to cybercrime annually, with a projection that the cost could surge to $12tn by next year.“This is an issue that we take very seriously at the IMF and in fact, our global financial stability report in April highlighted the importance of designing adequate frameworks and adequate regulation to tackle cybersecurity,” he said.

“In the case of Nigeria, I understand that the House of Representatives voted a motion to pause the implementation of this cybersecurity levy that was part of the Cybercrime Act that was just adopted lately.

“So, we have not discussed this particular issue with the authorities, but as I mentioned, it’s very serious and we encourage the authorities to work towards having an adequate framework around cybersecurity and more generally designing something robust and sufficiently efficient to tackle this very important issue for the financial sector,” he added.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had, on May 6, directed banks and other financial institutions to implement a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on electronic transfers.

The apex bank said the deductions would go to the national cybersecurity fund which would be administered by the office of the national security adviser.

Labour groups, the Organised Private Sector as well the House of Representatives have raised concerns about this new levy. On May 9, the House ordered the CBN to completely reverse the directive, withdraw the previous circular, and issue a counter-directive on the levy.

Sourcepunch

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