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FG hopeful of higher revenue as stamp duty tax yields N66b

FG hopeful of higher revenue as stamp duty tax yields N66bStamp Duties Tax generated N66 billion within the first five months of this year, the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) has disclosed. The executive chairman of the revenue agency, Muhammad Nami, who spoke at the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Audit and Recovery of Back Years Stamp Duties in Abuja said that the amount represented a 1000 per cent growth of the tax item when compared with collection last year.

“The Service has grown revenues from Stamp Duties by over 1000 percent, totalling N66 billion in the first five months of 2020 alone, compared with N6 billion collected from January to May in 2019,” he declared at the event which also witnessed the launch of FIRS Adhesive.

Nami attributed the increase to what he described as the dynamism triggered by the Finance Act 2019, sums warehoused by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in respect of prior years, deployment of technology and stakeholders’ collaboration.

“The introduction of the FIRS Stamp Duties Adhesive Stamp will, among other things, plug the revenue sink-hole; enable proper accountability and transparency; simplify administration of stamp duties; and reduce disputes.”

The Federal Government has been on the move to recover a backlog of unremitted revenues accruing to it through the Stamp Duty Tax in the last six years. According to a statement by the Director, Communications Department of the FIRS, Dr. Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari said there was assurance that the collection from stamp duty would be second to oil revenue “as it has the potential to yield up to a trillion naira if properly harnessed.”

The president directed that all institutions of government and related stakeholders should support the inter-ministerial committee to succeed on its assignment.
Other top government officials at the event, including the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed stressed the importance of diversification of government’s revenue sources.

Mustapha said: ‘’In the face of dwindling oil revenue, and the global shift from oil- dependent technological products, it is even more compelling to begin to think out of the box to safeguard Nigeria’s future. Therefore, this administration has resolved to widen the revenue base by activating stamp duties revenue collection which has been neglected for more than 20 years.”

To ensure transparency and accountability in recovery of back years stamp duty, President Buhari further directed that all recoveries made by the committee be remitted to appropriate stamp duty account maintained by the Federal Government with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Lawan, who launched the adhesive stamp officially, said that FIRS deserved commendation for its impressive revenue collection. He promised that the National Assembly would continue to acknowledge, encourage, and support the initiatives and efforts of revenue generating agencies of government.

Gbajabiamila acknowledged the collaboration between the FIRS and the House of Representatives, reassuring the FIRS boss of the House of Representatives support, especially in legislative interventions, to help the agency deliver its mandate successfully.

The minister of finance highlighted the importance of stamp duty, noting that it opens untapped sources for increased revenue collection. She also acknowledged the role of the adhesive stamps in enhancing voluntary compliance by taxpayers.

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