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Senate probes N20trn ‘unremitted’ stamp duty

Senate probes N20trn ‘unremitted’ stamp duty
December 10
21:04 2019
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The senate has directed its committee on finance to investigate the alleged non-remittance of over N20 trillion stamp duty into the federation account by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The apex bank reportedly collected the amount as stamp duty from banks and financial institutions in the country.

The resolution to undertake the probe followed a motion sponsored by Ayo Akinyelure, senator representing Ondo central.

While moving the motion on the floor of the senate on Tuesday, Akinyelure recalled that in 2016, the CBN issued a directive to financial institutions to charge stamp duty of N50 on lodgment into current accounts.

The senator said the apex bank and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBBS) failed to remit the money into the federation account.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria and NIBBS have technically refused to comply with the presidential directives for the recovery of over N20 trillion revenue into the coffers of government,” he said.

“The CBN and NIBSS deliberately failed to cooperate and comply with the directives of Mr. President for the realization of over N20 trillion revenue due from stamp duties collected for 2013 to 2016 and subsequently over N5 trillion minimum revenue due to be collected annually to the federation account to be shared among states of the federation for infrastructural and economic development.

“The senate must consider whether the target N20 trillion fund is being recycled into private banks when federal government had directed its recovery.

“Section 111 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) has empowered all 36 state attorney-generals and commissioners for justice to shut-down any banking operation nationwide for ‘summary recovery’ of stamp duty revenue accruing to them by a further provision of Sections 163 of the same constitution, and we should not fail in our collective role as senators of the federal republic of Nigeria to stem the looming crisis for our various constituencies and the nation in general.”

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the collection of stamp duty would improve when the finance bill takes effect in 2020.

“I was under the impression that we had over N20 trillion somewhere. It will interest you to know that we don’t even have N1 trillion,” he said.

“What has happened is because those that are supposed to collect the stamp duties were taking advantage of the non-electronic transaction.”

In 2018, Leaks.ng, a collation of media houses, had reported that some government agencies were hiding details of the stamp duty revenue estimated at N20 trillion.

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