By Levinus Nwabughiogu
House of Representatives yesterday resolved to investigate the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and some commercial banks on the allegation of unremitted stamp duties taxes to the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
The House reached the resolution following the adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon Goni Bukar Lawan representing Busari/Gaidam/Yunusari federal constituency of Yobe State at the plenary.
The lawmaker stated that the federal government has lost trillions of Naira consequent upon unremitted monies accrued from stamp duties.
Moving the motion, Lawan said that “stamp duties are statutory taxes levied on legal instruments including cheques, receipts, military commissions, licenses and land transaction documents”.
Explaining further, the lawmaker said: “A few years ago, however, banks were mandated to collect stamp duties from account holders.
“While the deductible amount per bank account seems small, it cumulatively adds up to money in billions and trillions of naira ad must be subjected to the full disclosure and transparency.
“The complicit irregularities by which public institutions including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Nigeria Postal Services(NIPOST), among others, have overtime failed to remit stamp duty taxes into the consolidated revenue account running into trillions.
“NIPOST entered into an agreement in 2014 to collect stamp duties and armed with the masters’ service agreement with NIPOST, the School Banking Honours (SBH) approached the Central Bank of Nigeria for authorization to engage Deposit Money Banks (DBMs) and other Stamp Duties collection agents and the CBN gave required approval.”
Lawan said that “all efforts to get details of remittances of funds realized from stamp duty taxes through the freedom of information Act were not successful by domestic and foreign civil society organizations.
“These would have been used to pay salaries, provide infrastructure and financing economic development in the country or at least should have generated some interest in the privates where the fund is domiciled in the commercial banks.
“Due to the concern mounting over the non-remittance, it is clearly obvious disobedience to TSA policy for the stamp duties fund to be hidden in commercial banks instead of been remitted to the TSA account”.
Adopting the motion, the House gave the ad-hoc committee 4 weeks within which to conclude its assignment and report back to it for further legislative work.