Tension is brewing among three key government agencies over the implementation of the stamp duty recently reintroduced to the banking industry by the Central of Bank of Nigeria.
Investigation by our correspondent showed that there had been several closed-door meetings in the last two weeks aimed at resolving the contentious issues among the CBN, the Nigerian Postal Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Central issues in contention are the account where the money realised from the implementation of the stamp duty will be lodged in, access to the account and who gets what from the account that is estimated to attract more than N2.5tn per annum.
Our correspondent learnt that the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission was already intervening in the clash. To this end, the three government agencies will meet at the RMAFC headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday (today) to iron out their differences.
Also expected at the meeting are representatives of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
Another bone of contention is the reward for some agents who have rendered some consultancy services towards the implementation of Stamp Duty Act, which became a law in 2004.
Our correspondent learnt that the consultants did not have any subsisting contract either with the CBN or NIPOST, but had played prominent advisory roles in the process because some of them had worked for NIPOST in the past, implementing the stamp duty in some sectors of the economy allocated to them.
However, they expect some compensation as the harbingers of the new revenue regime
While the FIRS contends that it has sole responsibility for the collection of all taxes and duties in the country, NIPOST is the repository of stamps, the historical products from which emanated stamp duties introduced into the country for the first time on April 1, 1939 by the British Colonial Government through the Ordinance 15, 1939.
The CBN had through a circular directed the banks to deduct N50 for stamp duty on lodgement transactions worth at least N1,000. However, NIPOST is seeking to know where this directive leaves it as the traditional custodian of the proceeds from stamps and thus, the stamp duty.
The FIRS, however, contends that it should superintend over the stamp duty fee collection as it has always done over other duties and taxes imposed by the Federal Government. The tax agency takes four per cent of the proceeds of the taxes and duties it collects as the cost of collection.
The Acting Postmaster-General of the Federation, Mr. Enoch Ogun, confirmed the meeting at RMAFC slated for (today) Wednesday. He, however, said it was among sister agencies.
He said, “It is clear that the FIRS collects taxes and duties. There is no doubt about that. It is also not in doubt that we are the custodians of stamps. So, we are sister government agencies. Instead of looking at the revenue as belonging to the agencies, you should look at it as government revenue.
“We are going to state our stand as NIPOST. Even if we get everything, we need it because we touch lives in all the communities. I am not saying that is our stand. I said, even if. This duty has been there. Some banks and agencies have been collecting it and not remitting it. This is the most important thing. Now, it will be collected and remitted.”
The NIPOST boss said there was no contention about where the money would be paid into as the government was now operating a Treasury Single Account.
Ogun also acknowledged that some private sector operators and public agencies played some critical roles leading to the decision of the CBN to instruct the banks to implement the Stamp Duty Act without any contractual agreement.