Secrecy mar Nigeria’s stamp duty remittance0

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The status of unremitted revenue from stamp duties said to have run into several trillions of naira over the years, has been shrouded in secrecy.

 

Recall that in November 2017, the Senate kick-started a probe into the allegation that stamp duties revenue which accumulated over a period of five years and is valued at over N20 trillion has not been paid into the federation account.

 

In October 2017, the House of Representatives committee on telecommunications, summoned Kemi Adeosun, former finance minister, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, and Adebisi Adegbuyi, post-master general of NIPOST, to provide explanations on why billions generated from stamp duty charges were kept in commercial banks and the CBN.

 

The committee’s resolution was triggered by the revelations by Zhigun Usman, who is NIPOST’s director of finance and investment, who said N13.4 billion had been deposited to the CBN by commercial banks.

 

Usman had, however, added that the figure is suspect as the banks’ remittances oddly increased geometrically after NIPOST announced plans to audit the accounts.

 

The School of Banking Honours (SBH), the consultancy agent authorised in October 2017 by the federal government, alongside the International Investment Law and Arbitration, to recover stamp duty revenue that has not been remitted, raised alarm in March that the NIBSS had been uncooperative so far in SBH’s efforts to recover unremitted stamp duty revenue of about $53.3 billion (N19.4 trillion) borne out of inter-bank electronic transactions.

 

According to Tola Adekoya, SBH’s project consultant and chief executive officer, N7.719 trillion was due in 2015 as accumulated yet unremitted revenue to the federal and state governments. In total, he said, the funds are about N20 trillion, out of which not up to one percent has been remitted appropriately.

 

He also said the presidency, through the office of the secretary to the government, had ordered the CBN to cooperate with SBH in implementing its mandate. However, NIBSS has refused on multiple occasions to grant access to data of relevant inter-bank transactions that passed through its central switch.

 

“Banks don’t have any power over NIBSS, once they ascertain a liability, they debit the banks immediately and that is why NIBSS is going to be a strategic partner in recovering the unremitted stamp duty revenue. It was indicated in the first paragraph of the letter sent to CBN and NIBSS that we should commence with NIBSS and that is what we are doing. We are following due process.”

National Daily gathered that a FOI request was sent on July 31 on behalf of LeaksNG to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), office of the secretary to the government of the federation (OSGF), Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) PLC.

 

Two months after the requests were made, on September 26, letters of reminder were sent to the various offices but none of the institutions had fulfilled its legal obligations by providing the information as of the time this report was filed.

 

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