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Senate probes alleged diversion of N20tn stamp duties

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‎The Senate, on Tuesday, instructed its standing committees on Finance and Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to probe allegations of unremitted stamp duties revenue, valued at about N20 billion in the last five years.

The committees are expected to report their findings, observations and recommendations to the Senate within eight weeks.

In a motion titled ‘Urgent need to investigate allegations of Unremitted Stamp Duty Revenue running into trillions of naira’, and sponsored by Senator John Enoh and ten others, the Senate alleged that a total volume of N20 trillion was not paid into the Federation Account between 2015 and 2017.

The Senate accused some agencies saddled with the responsibilities of collecting the funds of systemic diversion of huge revenue from stamp duties collection on the electronic transfer receipt on online bank transactions and the necessity to demand notice on all unremitted stamp duties.

It said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) declared in 2013 that stamp duties revenue accruals from five states only was over N160 billion.

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“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 annually.

“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 N16.96 billion respectively,” Senator Enoh said in his motion.

Senator Suleiman Hukunyi from Kaduna State, in his remarks, called for a thorough probe. He said the figures of monies realised since 2015 do not add up.

He said: “The figures here does not show probity. The allocations of the stamp duties of the three years running appeared not to have been given any attention. To my mind, this is an indication that whoever is providing these figures is not doing it with laid down procedures.

“According to a report, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said only five states were approved to be on stamp duties. Without gain saying, the figures provided here are alarming. As a matter of necessity, we should approve the motion for a probe.”

By Ehisuan Odia…

 

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