Reps to probe ‘missing N20trn’ stamp duty revenue

The House of Representatives has resolved to probe the alleged non-remittance of stamp duty revenue by deposit banks in the country.

A stamp duty is the tax placed on legal documents, usually in the transfer of assets or property.

The lower legislative chamber accused banks and other federal agencies involved in the collection of the fund of “shortchanging the nation.”

The development comes months after leaks.ng, a collation of media houses, reported that the agencies are hiding details of the stamp duty revenue estimated at N20 trillion.

The status of unremitted revenue from stamp duties has been shrouded in secrecy over the years.

At plenary on Thursday, Goni Lawan from Yobe, raised a motion, urging his colleagues to investigate the matter after “efforts by both local and international civil society organizations to get details of the collections have failed.”

He said the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) had in 2014 initiated the stamp duty collection scheme, after which the School Banking Honours (SBH) obtained authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to engage the banks and other collection agents.

“But public institutions including the CBN, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), NIPOST among others, have over time failed to remit stamp duty taxes into the federation account running into trillions,” the lawmaker said.

“While the deductible amount per bank account may seem small, it cumulatively adds up to money in trillions of naira, and must be subjected to the full condition of disclosure and transparency.”

The lawmaker added that such funds, if made available, could have been used for infrastructural development “or at least should have generated some interests in the private accounts where the fund is domiciled.”

Some of his colleagues also raised concern over the issue which they said is in disobedience to the treasury single account (TSA) policy.

Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house, said it is unacceptable for the banks to fail to remit the stamp duties to the CBN.

The lawmakers subsequently set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the whereabouts of the fund and report back in four weeks.

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