The total amount of stamp duty collected on deposits in bank accounts across the Deposit Money Banks has yielded N13bn to the Federal Government, investigation has shown.
Sources close to the Central Bank of Nigeria where the fund is warehoused confirmed to our correspondent that in the first 12 months of application of the duty (January to December 2016), the banks remitted a total of N3bn into the Stamp Duty Treasury Single Account.
However, remittances into the account have improved significantly as the account witnessed more activities in 2017 with about N10bn recorded during the first seven months of the year.
Although the N10bn so far collected this year through the stamp duty represents a significant improvement on the N3bn collected in 2016, it is a far cry from the N2.5tn which authorities had estimated that government could generate through the deduction of N50 on deposits in bank accounts worth at least N1000.
Peeved by low remittances into the account, the Nigerian Postal Service had between December 2016 and January 2017 advertised to hire auditors to look into banks’ books to determine the compliance level in terms of remitting the deductions from customers’ accounts.
Our correspondent, however, gathered that the postal organisation – the operator of the Stamp Duty Act – had to shelve the idea when the CBN suggested that it could use its supervisory mechanism to monitor the level of compliance of the banks.
Given the assurance by the CBN, NIPOST was forced to stop the process of hiring forensic auditors, which had attracted about 100 applications from auditing firms across the country.
Although remittances into the Stamp Duty Account have improved following the CBN assurance, findings by our correspondent showed that NIPOST authorities had yet to be satisfied and might insist on hiring the auditors if the banks failed to increase their remittances.
The CBN had, through a circular issued on January 15, 2016, directed banks to deduct N50 stamp duty on deposits made into current accounts with a value of N1,000.
In compliance with the Stamp Duty Act 2005, the initiative is meant to boost government revenue drive.
The CBN also anchored its directive on a court ruling obtained by Kasmal International Services Limited in 2014 to the effect that the 22 banks operating in the country should remit more than N6tn to NIPOST through the company as stamp duty.
However, 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, Lagos Judicial Division, held that the Stamp Duty Act 2004 did not impose a duty on the DMBs to deduct N50 on bank deposits.