Senate to Probe N20trn Unremitted Stamp Duty

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Senate has agreed to investigate the more than N20 trillion in unremitted stamp duty revenue collected by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from banks and other financial institutions on behalf of the federal government from 2013 to 2016.

This decision was made at Tuesday’s plenary, with the Senate Committee on Finance given the mandate to probe what happened to the funds, where were not put into government’s coffers. It was stated that the funds were collected through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) within the period under review.

At the session yesterday, Senator Ayo Akinyelure called attention of his colleagues to the issue when he moved a motion that the CBN and the NIBBS have refused to comply with the Presidential directives for the recovery of over N20 trillion realized from the N50 collected on transactions from all deposit money banks and financial institutions.

Mr Akinyelure said that it was very important to probe the CBN in order to improve the country’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) significantly by over N5 trillion annually through non-oil revenue sources available at its disposal.

On his part, the Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, noted that the expectations for stamp duty were exceedingly low and said this was caused by people taking advantage of the way the stamp duty act established in 2004 was set up.

In his words, “What we have been expecting to be available as stamp duty is not so. And what has happened is because those that were supposed to collect the stamp duty were taking advantage of the way the stamp duty act has been.”

“I believe from January; the stamp duty collection will be significantly improved. We have also come up with another idea of engaging all revenue agencies every quarter for evaluation of their collections. The idea is not to allow agencies just do what they want,” he said further.

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