Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
The House of Representatives has resolved to set up committee to urgently investigate the non-remittance of money deducted as stamp duties running into trillions of naira into the federation’s Treasury Single Account (TSA).
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion of “urgent national importance’’ moved by Hon. Goni Bukar Lawan, representing Bursari/Geidam/Yunusari, Yobe State, who noted that stamp duties are statutory taxes levied on legal instruments, including cheques, receipts, military commissions, licences and land transaction documents but not properly remitted to the federal government coffers.
He noted that banks were mandated to collect stamp duties from account holders, but added that while the amount being deducted per bank account seems small, “it cumulatively adds up to money in billions and trillions of naira and must be subjected to the full condition of disclosure and transparency.”
According to the lawmaker, “I am alarmed at the complicit irregularity by which public institutions including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST), among others, have overtime failed to remit stamp duty taxes into the Federation Account running into trillions.”
Corroborating Goni’s position, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara said: “If you are customer of any bank and you do 50 transactions exceeding N1000 in a day, you are charged N50 on each of those transactions, and so you can now imagine how much these N50 will accumulate into at the end of the day and by the end of the year.
“The contention is that this money is never remitted to the CBN. The commercial banks sit on this money that belongs to the federation account as a matter of fact. If it is true you can imagine the volume of transactions exceeding N1000 that are done every year and we multiply it by N50.
“You can imagine the amount that the banks are sitting on and loaning to customers at the interest rate of 28 per cent, I don’t know what the interest rate is now.”
On his part, Hon. Idris Wase was optimistic that Goni’s motion, if properly taken care of, would improve the revenue base in the country, urging that in line with the House Rule, members should allow the consideration to be taken so that they can be educated and have proper information for further actions.
The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yusuf Lasun, reminded the House that a Bill on Stamp Duty had been passed where it was clearly stated that the Stamp Duty’s deduction must be paid into the account of NIPOST and the bill was correctly passed.
He regretted that it was not assented to by the president.