Access Bank backs down on collection of accrued stamp duty

Access Bank Plc has rescinded its decision to collect accrued stamp duty charges for February through April following serious media backlash against the decision as customers expressed their utter dissatisfaction over the debits.

Recall that last, Access Bank had informed its customers through a mail that the accrued charges were not debited between February and April when they were supposed to, due to an omission on the part of Access Bank.

The bank had, therefore, apologized to the customers for the inconvenience. But apparently, many customers claim they did not receive this notification, hence the backlash

In a statement issued on Twitter, Access Bank explained the decision to cancel the stamp duty collection was because it cared about its customers. The bank, however, maintained that the earlier decision to withdraw the accrued charges was legal.

In the meantime, Access Bank said it will go ahead and bear the cost of the stamp duty on behalf of its customers. Note that stamp duty charges on bank customers’ transactions are usually collected by the banks on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“Stamp duty charge collection is in compliance with the mandate of the ‘Finance Act, 2019 (Stamp Duty Act, Cap S8). We are required by law to apply this charge as applicable and remit all funds to the Federal Government.

“However, we have heard our customers’ feedback that this charge is unwelcome, especially at this time against a challenging economic backdrop. We have considered your feedback and have decided to pay the stamp duty on our customers’ behalf for the affected period only. This means all individual and SMEs who were debited for the accumulated stamp duty charge for February to April 2020, will be refunded.”

To this end, Access Bank said it hopes the decision to refund all those who were debited would go a long way towards making them feel better.