Insists on collection
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) generates about N3 billion from stamp duty weekly.
The Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Muhammad Nami, disclosed this at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, in Abuja, today.
According to him, the feat was achieved as a result of the deployment of a new Application Programming Interface (API) technology solution, an – online real-time technology that makes the collection of Stamp Duties easier.
The FIRS boss said that there was only N30 billion in the NIPOST Stamp Duty Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), when he assumed office in December 2019.
That account was opened in 2016, according to him.
Nami disclosed, however, that by April 2020, the balance in the account had grown to N58 billion because of the deployment of the API by the FIRS.
He stressed the collection of Stamp Duties in the country had been on in the last 94 years and had always been the responsibility of tax agencies.
Nami regretted that the differences in who controls stamp duty collection between both NIPOST and FIRS had degenerated into a media affair, adding, “The FIRS regrets that as an agency of the government, FIRS and NIPOST allow a simple situation to degenerate to media exposure.”
The meeting, which was chaired by the Chairman Hon James Faleke was called to resolve the face-off between the FIRS and the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) over stamp duty collection.
The Postmaster-General of NIPOST, Dr Ismail Adewusi, agreed with Nami that the disagreement between FIRS and NIPOST over Stamp Duty collection was unnecessary.
He said: “NIPOST is not a tax collecting agency. We are not in the business of collecting taxes, that’s not our mandate. But our role in stamp duty is clearly stated in the law.
“The issue is, the Finance Act, 2019 did not in any way stop NIPOST from its mandate. In spite of the amendment to Finance Act, it has not affected the responsibility of NIPOST. There is no fight between NIPOST and FIRS over tax collection,” he said.
He, however, insisted that the responsibility of procuring stamp rested with NIPOST and said that, the agency was entitled to its share of the stamp duty proceeds it collected and domiciled in the CBN from 2016 to 2020.
According to him, “All the monies that accrued to the account include proceeds of stamp sales. In the spirit of peace, we want FIRS to look at the issue. We deserve in sharing the cost of collection. At the initial meeting, FIRS said they will give us 30 per cent and take 70 per cent, we said no.”
Hon Faleke said his committee would examine the Acts in reference before taking a decision.