By Victor Ahiuma-Young
NIGERIA Employers Consultative Association, NECA, umbrella body for employers in the country, yesterday, berated Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, over its failure to comply with the Court of Appeal’s ruling directing all Deposit Money Banks, DMB, to discontinue the illegal charging of N50 per transaction in lieu of Stamp Duties.
It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on April 21, 2016, ruled against the imposition of stamp duties on bank lodgements with value of N1,000 and above.
The Federal Government had planned to raise about N2.5 trillion per annum from the duty.
Ruling on an appeal filed by Standard Chartered Bank against Kasmal International Services Limited and 22 others, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa and four other Justices of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, held that the Stamp Duties Act, 2004 did not impose a duty on Deposit Money Banks to deduct N50 on deposits.
The CBN had, in a circular issued to the DMBs, directed them to deduct N50 for stamp duties on every deposit into a current account of N1,000 and above from January 1, 2016.
The circular, which has since been implemented by the banks, came despite the pendency of issue in the court.
Furthermore, even after the Court of Appeal order to DMBs to discontinue the stamp duty charge, the banks have continued debiting customers’ accounts on stamp duty.
NECA and the Organised Private Sector, OPS, had opposed attempts by the Nigeria Postal Service, NIPOST, to compel companies to affix a N50 postal stamp on all receipts, invoices and documents evidencing transaction of N1, 000 and above.
NECA, in a statement in Lagos by its Director General, Mr. Segun Oshinowo, said that “There had been a landmark ruling in the case at the Court of Appeal on this subject matter between Kasmal International Services Limited and Access Bank and 23 others, which declared the deductions illegal.
“NECA has expressed grave concern over the failure of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to reverse its earlier directives to all DMBs to halt the charging of N50 per eligible transaction in accordance with the assumed provisions of the Stamp Duties Act and Federal Government Financial Regulations (2009). The CBN is hereby, advised to do the needful without delay by directing cessation of further deductions and commence the refund of all accrued deductions in the past to their customers.
“NECA urges the Buhari administration to restrain its operatives from pursuing policies that will increase the burden on the citizenry both corporate and individuals. Stamp Duty’s applicability is limited to purchases involving large sums like a house purchase or importation of goods as against the position of applying N50 postage stamp to all receipts given by any bank (or financial institution) in acknowledgement of services rendered in respect of electronic transfer and teller deposits.”