Reps probe non-remittance of stamp duty funds

House of Representatives is set to investigate the non-remittance of stamp duty charges by commercial banks and other collection agents into the federation account of Nigeria.

To this end, the House on Thursday passed a resolution setting up an Ad hoc committee, “to urgently investigate” the allegation and report back its findings within four weeks.

This followed the unanimous adoption of a motion brought under matters of urgent public importance by Hon. Goni Lawan, who informed the House that independent efforts by both local and international civil society organisations to get details of the collections so far have remained unsuccessful.

He recalled that the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) in 2014 initiated the stamp duty collection scheme, following which a firm; the School Banking Honours (SBH) obtained authorization of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to engage the banks and other qualified collection agents.

The lawmaker described the development as alarming, “the complicit irregularity by which 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”.

According to Lawan, while the deductible amount per bank account may seem 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”.

He also argued that if such funds were made available, they could have been used to pay salaries, provide infrastructure and financing economic development in the country, or at least should have generated some interests in the private accounts where the fund is domiciled…”.


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