By Alex Enumah
The federal government has expressed readiness to provide the much needed support to states in their bid to recover the backlog of stamp duty and also generate more revenue to the country.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who made this known yesterday, also called for the support and cooperation of the Attorney-Generals of the 36 states in the country and the Joint Tax Board on the proposed audit and recovery of backlog of stamp duties from January 15, 2016, to June 29, 2020.
Malami stated this at a virtual meeting with the states’ Attorney-Generals and the chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the members of the Joint Task Board yesterday.
In a statement issued by Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Dr. Umar Gwandu, the minister cited Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Act which states that: “All duties, fines, penalties and debts due to the federal government imposed by this Act shall be recoverable in a summarily manner in the name of the Attorney General of the Federation or the State.”
Malami noted that it is permanent to note that by Paragraph 7, Item B of Part II of the Second Schedule to the Constitution and Section 4(2) of Stamp Duty Act, the state governments are empowered to collect stamp duties in respect of transactions between individuals residing in their respective states.
The federal government has set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Audit and Recovery of backlogs of stamp duties. The committee, chaired by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, was inaugurated by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, on June 30, 2020.
Membership of the committee were drawn from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, SGF, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and FIRS.
The stamp duties was originally captured in the Stamp Duties Act 1939 (Ordinance 41 of the 1939) and amended by numerous Acts and various resolutions contained in the laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.