Reps to probe N20 trillion ‘non-remitted’ stamp duty

House of Reps
House of Reps

The House of Representatives has resolved to probe an alleged non-remittance of stamp duty revenue by deposit banks in the country.

The lawmakers paased the resolution after adopting a motion of urgent national importance brought before it by Goni Lawal (APC, Yobe).

The stamp duty is the tax placed on legal documents, usually in the transfer of assets or property.

The house resolution is coming months after an FOI request was sent in July on behalf of LeaksNG to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) PLC.

The information requested were a report of stamp duty remittances by Deposit Money Banks and other financial institutions, the current status of the stamp duty central account domiciled in the CBN, stamp duty revenue remitted to the CBN by NIBSS between 2016 and 2017 and amount of revenue collected by NIPOST between 2010 and 2016.

The lawmakers accused banks and other federal agencies involved in the collection of the fund of “shortchanging the nation”.

Moving the motion, Mr Lawan urged his colleagues to investigate the matter after “efforts by both local and international civil society organizations to get details of the collections have failed.”

He said the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) had in 2014 initiated the stamp duty collection scheme, after which the School Banking Honours (SBH) obtained authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to engage the banks and other collection agents.

“But public institutions, including the CBN, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), NIPOST, among others, have over time failed to remit stamp duty taxes into the federation account running into trillions,” he said.

“While the deductible amount per bank account may seem small, it cumulatively adds up to money in trillions of naira, and must be subjected to the full condition of disclosure and transparency.”

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The lawmaker added that such funds, if made available, could have been used for infrastructural development “or at least should have generated some interests in the private accounts where the fund is domiciled.”

Some lawmakers also raised concern over the issue which they said “is in disobedience to the treasury single account (TSA) policy”.

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The Speaker Yakubu Dogara, while commenting on the issue said it is unacceptable for the banks to fail to remit the stamp duties to the CBN.

The speaker set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the whereabouts of the fund and report back in four weeks.

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