Senate Tuesday said it has discovered N20 trillion stamp duties revenue not remitted in the last five years and is set to probe all criminal dealings pertaining to the unremitted funds.
Senate is aided by the School of Banking Honours (SBH) to uncover the unremitted stamp duties revenue in Nigerian Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and bring the matter to public glare.
Consequently, the Red Chamber has mandated its Committees on Finance and Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to quickly investigate the issue to curb the illegality and report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.
Tuesday in plenary, a motion on ‘urgent need to investigate allegations of Unremitted Stamp Duty Revenue running into trillions of naira” was moved by Senator John Owan Enoh (APC, Cross River Central) and co-sponsored by 10 other Senators.
In his presentation, Senator Enoh averred that reports abound that over N7 trillion in stamp duties revenue from electronic cashless transactions remain unpaid to the federation since 2015.
He noted that the total volume of the unremitted sum amounted to about N20 trillion.
“Senate is worried that the provision for stamp duty in the revenue framework of the nation’s annual budget for 2015, 2016 and 2017 has been N8.713 billion, N66.138 billion and 16.96 billion respectively, despite the above reports”, the lawmaker stated.
The Senator further disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had declared in 2013 that stamp duties revenue accruals from five states only was over N160 billion.
His words: “The senate was apprised of the anti-stamp duties collection stance of the NIBSS currently being accused of systemic diversion of huge revenue flows from stamp duties collection on the electronic transfer receipt on online bank transactions, and the necessity to demand notice on all unremitted stamp duties.
“The duties and responsibilities of the National Assembly is to ensure the harnessing of all sources of revenue to the government of the federation and to curb all forms of wastefulness, corruption and diversion of funds belonging to the federation.
“Aware of the necessity to upgrade and reactivate the provisions of the Stamp Duty Act to include modern and efficient methods of taxation, it is imperative to ensure that the existing Stamp Duty Act is made to work for the federal and state governments”.
Enoh further insisted that the Stamp Duty Act is one of the oldest and enduring laws in Nigeria since 1939, and that application of stamp duties has institutionally been a significant revenue earner for both federal and state governments since independence, thus accounting for almost a quarter of the taxation resources, yearly.