Akinwale Akintunde

The federal government may have lost N7.7 trillion within the last three years due to alleged suppression of stamp duty by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS), an agency owned by banks.

This revelation was made in a report by School of Banking Honours (SBH), a commission established by the federal government.

SBH called on the federal government to begin action for the recovery of the said N7.7 trillion from NIBSS into the federation account.

SBH Project Consultant and acting Provost of the school, Mr. Adetola Adekoya who made the call at a press briefing in Lagos said SBH is the copyright owner on the research work and intellectual property approved and registered by Nigeria Copyright Commission as a literary work, LW 1023, titled “50-Naira Stamp Duty for Government on Electronic Cash-less Transfers and Manual Bank Teller Deposits.”

He said NIBSS had been keeping N70 aggregate increased charges on electronic transfers for 2013 to 2015, against the CBN financial inclusion policy stated in the CBN approval letters to SBH

He added: “NIBSS is also keeping N70 aggregate increased charges on electronic transfer against CBN directives for such charges to remitted to government coffers on monthly basis, in CBN approval letters to SBH.
“Additional N50 charge on cashless and other banking receipt being introduced in 2016 is therefore a double charge on bank customers, and must be reversed.

“Any blame by the public on the increased charges should be therefore directed to CBN/NIBSS and not to the government,” the SBH Project Consultant explained.

Adekoya said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Circular, which was issued January this year, should have been issued since January 2013, after the CBN approval and No-subject letters issued by CBN to SBH dated November and December 2012, to engage banks and other financial institutions on the statutory charge for Government through a two-year master services agreement signed with the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST).

“During a joint press conference that SBH had with NIBSS on January 4, 2013, that company openly promised to support the statutory charges for government, in line with CBN approvals letters to SBH, and was engaged as official sweeping agent on the project immediately.

“Quite sadly though, the three-year delay by CBN was then utilise by NIBSS to introduce new N70 charges on electronic receipts below N500,000 and increase by 300 per cent, charges on electronic receipts above N500,000.

“The value of transactions passing through NIBSS on just two electronic products is reported by CBN at N160 billion daily, while some other 18 products have not been captured in the said CBN circular.

“Given the above, NIBSS was served a Demand Notice by SBH for N7.7 trillion on 10th March 2015, comprising N2.3 trillion (2013), N3.5 trillion (2014) and N1.9 trillion (penalty/interest), while that of 2015 is also outstanding.

“There was an attempt to utilise this fund, along with 2015 illegal charges, to buy Nigeria’s OIL joint ventures shares with Foreign Oil companies at N14.9 trillion but for the vigilance of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation & Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), which alerted the Nation, as well as resilience of SBH in the face of intimidations.

“When this approach failed, the banks are trying to hijack NIPOST through a bid for the vacant Postmaster-General position,” Adekoya stated.