By Ndubuisi Francis and James Emejo
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami yesterday disclosed that the agency currently generates N3 billion weekly from stamp duty collection.
He said the revenue had been generated weekly from May 2020 till date from Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).
The FIRS boss spoke when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance to resolve the face-off between the FIRS and the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) over stamp duty collection, and the fate of the N58 billion revenue generated from February 2016 to April, 2020.
Nami said the FIRS was able to generate such a huge amount of revenue from a single stream of stamp duty collection from DMBs because the service had deployed a new technology to track and capture such revenue straight into the federation account.
He explained that the Application Programming Interface (API) technology solution, which is an online real- time technology makes collection of stamp duties easier.
He said since his assumption of office in December 2019, the FIRS had discovered over N30 billion in the NIPOST Stamp duty account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that the account was opened in 2016 specifically to warehouse revenue from stamp duty collection.
He pointed out however, that by April 2020, the balance in the account had grown to N58 billion because of the deployment of the API by the FIRS, stressing that the money in the stamp duty account by May 2020 was transferred to the federation account following instructions given to the CBN by the FIRS.
The development had caused rancour between both the FIRS and the NIPOST over who controls stamp duty collection and invariably the money which accrues from the collection.
Nami said payment of stamp duties collection in Nigeria dates back to 94 years ago, stressing that stamp duty had always been part of the revenue schedule of the tax authority.
He regretted that the differences over the control of stamp duty collection between both NIPOST and FIRS had degenerated a public spat between the two agencies, describing the development as “unnecessary and unhelpful”.
In a statement issued by the agency, he said: “the FIRS regrets that as agency of the government, FIRS and NIPOST allow a simple situation to degenerate to media exposure”.
However, the Postmaster General/Chief Executive Officer of NIPOST, Dr. Ismail Adebanjo Adewusi described the feud between FIRS and his agency as needless.
He said: “As prelude, it’s important to make this remark. NIPOST is not a tax collecting agency. We are not in the business of collecting taxes, that’s not our mandate. But our role in stamp duty is clearly stated in the law.
“The issue is, the Finance Act, 2019 did not in any way stop NIPOST from its mandate. In spite of amendment to Finance Act, it has not affected the responsibility of NIPOST. There is no fight between NIPOST and FIRS over tax collection,” he said.
He however insisted that, the responsibility of procuring stamp rests with NIPOST but appealed that, the agency is entitled to its share of the stamp duty proceeds it collected and domiciled in the CBN from 2016 to 2020.
He said: “All the monies that accrued to the account include proceeds of stamp sales. In the spirit of peace, we want FIRS to look at the issue. We deserve in sharing cost of collection. At the initial meeting, FIRS said they will give us 30 per cent and take 70 per cent, we said no”.