The Senate on Tuesday at the plenary mandated its Committee on Finance to investigate the issue of more than N20 trillion unremitted Stamp Duties fund due to the Federal Government from banks and other financial institutions.
The Senate said that the non-remittance from the financial institutions was through the Nigeria Inter -Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS), a subsidiary of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from 2013 to 2016.
It also noted that the CBN had officially directed the banks to collect the stamp duty on behalf of Federal Government from 2016 to date.
The resolution of the Senate was hinged on a motion on: “The need to improve Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the Federal Government by over N5 trillion annually through non-oil revenue sources available at its disposal.”
The motion was sponsored by Sen. Akinyelure Ayo (Ondo Central) and co-sponsored by 41 other senators.
Akinyelure, while presenting the motion, noted that Federal Government had projected revenue of over N25 trillion annually from payment of stamp duties from the financial services industry since 2016 .
He said that the CBN had in January 2016, issued a circular directing all banks and other financial institutions to charge stamp of N50 duties on lodgment into current accounts with value of N1, 000 and above.
He said, given the directive from CBN, all deposit money banks and other financial institutions had begun charging N50 per eligible transaction in accordance with the provisions of the Stamp Duties Act 2004 and Federal Government’s financial regulations 2009.
He said the Federal Government had to appoint a consultant with `Patent Rights’ and vast knowledge to recover the over N20 trillion from NIBSS to the Federation Account in line with law.
He, however, said that NIBSS had technically refused to comply with presidential directive to recover the money.
“Concerned that since the issuance of the said directives by the president, the CBN and NIBSS deliberately failed to cooperate and comply with the directives for the realisation of revenue due from stamp duties collected for 2013 to 2016 years and subsequently over N5 trillion minimum revenue due to be collected annually .
“The revenue is to be shared among the states of the Federation for infrastructural and economic development,” he said.
He raised concern that since the issuing of CBN circulars to all money deposit banks in 2016 for collection of N50 stamp duties, accountability in the collection by banks had not been transparent and no report by CBN or its NIBSS to the Nigerian public on the actual revenue generated.
He said the Senate should be abreast with the facts henceforth in order to work for Nigerians and make a difference in line with the legislative agenda of the National Assembly.
Akinyelure noted that proper accountability and prudent financial management of stamp duty revenue would result in additional N5 trillion annually generated revenue.
This, he said, would impact greatly on many Nigerian youth through massive job creation of more than 500,000 annually by the Federal Government.
“It will impact greatly on many families and general public directly and indirectly to reduce poverty to the barest minimum”
“It will stem the gale of retrenchment ravaging the various sectors of the Nigerian economy and finally enhance the meeting of deliverables on the next level agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.
Contributing, Sen. Gyang Istifanus (APC Plateau),who seconded the motion said the motion was drawing the attention of the Senate to an already available revenue.
Sen. Isa Jubril (APC Kogi) said it was worrisome, why a government agency should not comply with the directive of the President of Nigeria.
In his remark, President of Senate Ahmad Lawan said his engagement with the CBN and the Ministry of Finance had indicated that those supposed to collect the duty were not up and doing.
He said that with the passing of the Finance Bill by the Senate, the collection of stamp duty would improve significantly beginning from January.
He said that the stamp duty, if properly collected would be enough to fund the 2020 budget implementation.
Lawan said the National Assembly, via its committees, would monitor the collections and ensure that those responsible for the collections do not abuse the process.