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Senate to probe CBN over N20tn unremitted stamp duty

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The Senate on Tuesday authorised its Committee on Finance to investigate the circumstances around the non-remittance of over N20tn into the Federation Account by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for three years.

The figure represents money collected as stamp duty by the apex bank from banks and some other financial institutions beginning from 2016.

The deliberation of the upper chamber over a motion on “the need to improve the Internally Generated Revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria through non-oil revenue” led to the decision to investigate the non-remittance of stamp duty.

Ayo Akinyelure, the lawmaker sponsoring the motion, affirmed that a directive, mandating banks and financial institutions to charge stamp duty of N50 on lodgements into current accounts against revenue projections by the Federal Government of N2.5tn annually, was issued by the CBN in 2016.

Akinyelure stated that all deposit money banks and financial institutions conformed to the N50 per eligible transaction policy on compliance with the provisions of the Stamp Duty Act 2004 and the Federal Government Financial Regulations 2009.

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“The Central Bank of Nigeria and NIBBS have technically refused to comply with the Presidential directives for the recovery of over N20 trillion revenue into the coffers of government.

“The CBN and NIBSS deliberately failed to cooperate and comply with the directives of Mr President for the realisation of over N20 trillion revenue due from stamp duties collected for 2013 to 2016 and subsequently over N5 trillion minimum revenue due to be collected annually to the Federation account to be shared among States of the Federation for infrastructural and economic development,” he asserted.

The senator further stated that accountability by banks had remained questionable since the implementation of the collection of stamp duty.

He revealed that concerted efforts by the House of Representatives and National Economic Council last May to resolve the issue and pursue recovery of the fund proved futile.

In his contribution, Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President, said: “I engaged the Ministry of Finance and CBN for an interaction, and I discovered that what we have been expecting to be stamp duty is not so.”

“I was under the impression that we had over N20tn somewhere. It will interest you that we don’t even have N1tn.”

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