The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has reportedly perfected plans to embark on a nationwide probe of banks over the non-remittance of stamp duties which is now in the tune of N100 billion.
According to a statement that was issued at the weekend in Abuja by RMAFC spokesperson, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, the probe would involve a forensic investigation of the funds that had so far been collected as stamp duty by 22 Deposit Money Banks (DMB) from 2000 to 2018.
Recall that few year back, banks operating in Nigeria were mandated to collect stamp duties from every account holder. While the deductible amount per bank account is small, it all adds up to billions and sometimes even trillions of naira.
According to the commission spokesperson, the commercial banks had been deducting the sum of N50 on every deposit with a value of N1, 000 and above since January 2000.
At the end of 2018, concerns mounted over the non-remittance to the Federation Account of about N20 trillion generated from stamp duties in recent years.
The sum of N7.79 trillion was reportedly generated in 2015, with the total outstanding in the region of N20 trillion by the end of 2018.
Out of the target of N11.15bn target for Q4 2018, the tax agency only generated N5.3bn that is approximately 48% of the total target. This shows half of the revenue target from stamp collection is not met. Also, from the total tax collected in Q4, Stamp Duty recorded only a meager 0.37%.
According to detailed investigations by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) in 2018, complicit in this irregularity are key public institutions such as the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Inland Revenue Service [FIRS], Nigerian Interbank Settlement System [NIBSS] and Nigeria Postal Services, NIPOST.
Furthermore, Mohammed indicated that the commission had concluded plans to engage the services of reputable forensic audit firms to carry out the probe aimed at recovering over N100 billion.
In 2017, the Nigeria Senate mandated its committees on finance and banking, insurance, and other financial institutions to investigate alleged N7 trillion non-remittance of stamp duty revenue in the last five years.
The upper chamber reportedly stated it discovered that the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) was being accused of systemic diversion of huge revenue from stamp duty. Mohammed had, once again, called on the Nigerian Senate, saying the following”
According to Mohammed, if the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), was properly repositioned through the appropriate legal and regulatory framework, and the introduction of appropriate technology, the agency could generate over N500 billion.
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