We generate N3bn weekly from stamp duties – FIRS

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has been generating N3billion revenue weekly from stamp duty collections, FIRS Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami stated this Tuesday at a meeting with House of Representatives Committee on Finance.

The stamp duty revenue is generated from May 2020 to date from Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Nami disclosed

The meeting with the legislators was to resolve the face-off between the FIRS and the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) over stamp duty collections, and the fate of the N58 billion revenue generated from February 2016 to April, 2020.

 Nami said FIRS was able to generate this much 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.

The technology deployed by the FIRS, Nami said, is the Application Programming Interface (API) technology solution, an – online real time technology that makes collection of stamp duties easier.

Nami said when he assumed office in December 2019, the FIRS discovered over N30 billion in the NIPOST stamp duty account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The account was opened in 2016 specifically to warehouse revenue from stamp duty collections.

However, by April 2020, the balance in the account had grown to N58 billion because of the deployment of the API by the FIRS. Money in the stamp duty account by May 2020 was transferred to the federation account following instructions given to the CBN by the FIRS to do so.

Since then, both the FIRS and the NIPOST have been at daggers drawn over who controls stamp duty collections and invariably the money which accrues from the collection.

Nami said payment of stamp duty collections in Nigeria dates back 94 years ago, stressing that stamp duty had always been part of the revenue schedule of tax authority.

 He regretted that the differences in who controls stamp duty collections between NIPOST and FIRS had degenerated to a public spat between the two agencies, describing the development as “unnecessary and unhelpful”.

According to him, “the FIRS regrets that as agency of the government, FIRS and NIPOST allow a simple situation to degenerate to media exposure”.

In his submission, Postmaster General/Chief Executive Officer of NIPOST, Dr. Ismail Adebanjo Adewusi, described the feud between FIRS and his agency as needless.

According to him, “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 told the finance committee that “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 percent and take 70 percent, we said no.”

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