Said no recovery yet
By Alex Enumah
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), wrote to the 36 state governors of the federation regarding the state of the collection and payment of stamp duties in the country.
Malami, in the letter, said that although collections are being made for federal ministries, departments, agencies and financial institutions, “at this point the liabilities are established and no actual collections have been made.”
The letters, according to Malami’s media assistant, Dr Umar Gwandu, were written in accordance with the provision of Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Law, which provides that “all duties, fines, penalties and debts due to the government of the federation imposed by this The act is recoverable summarily in the name of the Attorney General of the Federation or the State â.
In a statement made available to reporters on Wednesday, the media assistant added that the letters were intended to comply with the audit and recovery of prior years of stamp duty from January 15, 2016 to June 30, 2020.
“In accordance with the approval and directives of Mr. President, I also wish to request Your Excellency to request the ministries, departments, agencies and regulatory institutions of the financial sector to engage and grant access to agents of collection designated for audit and stamp duty collection to ensure all established liabilities are properly remitted, âthe letter read in part.
Gwandu noted that Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Law gave AGF exclusive authority to collect any overdue payment or remittance related to stamp duty.
He explained that what AGF did was activate these powers, audit and collect stamp duties from previous years in collaboration with stakeholders.
He said the Federal Government of Nigeria has established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Auditing and Collecting Yesteryear Stamp Duties from January 15, 2016 to June 30, 2020.
Committee members were drawn from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice in collaboration with relevant bodies including the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Office of the Accountant . General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Revenue Mobilization and Tax Allocation Commission (RMAFC), among others.
According to the statement, in view of the need to provide a full overview of the process and to fully understand the task, the AGF has arranged a meeting with the state attorneys general, as they have similar powers in relation to the right to stamp of ministries, departments and agencies. and financial institutions in their respective statements.
Just last month, attorneys general for all 36 states sued Malami over the federal government’s alleged failure to transfer stamp duty-generated funds to state accounts.
The states have argued that they are the sole authority to collect stamp duty, not the federal government.
Meanwhile, states, starting with Rivers, are challenging FIRS’s right to collect value added tax (VAT), a Federal High Court having already ruled in favor of the state.
Judge Stephen Pam of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had, in an Aug. 9 judgment, prevented FIRS from collecting VAT at Rivers and ordered the state government to take over the law.
Following the court ruling, Lagos State asked FIRS to stop issuing formal notices for the payment of VAT in the state, as well as to move forward to adopt its own VAT law.
Although the Abuja Court of Appeals issued a temporary order asking Rivers and Lagos not to give effect to Judge Pam’s judgment, the Rivers State government nevertheless appealed the ruling on Tuesday, asking the Supreme Court to overturn the temporary order restricting it. obey the order of the Federal High Court.