By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
The Federal Government has assured of its readiness to provide support for states to recover the backlog of stamp duty from 15th January, 2016 to 29th June, 2020 and generate more revenue for the country.
Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) gave the assurance on Tuesday at a virtual meeting with the states’ Attorney-Generals, the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue (FIR) and members of the Joint Task Board.
In a statement, Malami’s media aide, Umar Gwandu said the AGF appealed for the support and cooperation of the states’ Attorney-Generals and the Joint Tax Board on the proposed audit and recovery of backlog of stamp duties from 15th January, 2016 to 29th June, 2020.
Gwandu quoted Malam as noting that Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Act provides that “ all duties, fines, penalties and debts due to the Government of the Federation imposed by this Act shall be recoverable in a summarily manner in the name of the Attorney General of the Federation or the State.”
He added that the minister stressed the importance of Paragraph 7, Item B of Part II of the Second Schedule to the Constitution and Section 4(2) of Stamp Duty Act, which empowers State Governments to collect stamp duties in respect of transactions between individuals residing in their respective States.
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Gwandu added: “It may be recalled that Federal Government has set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Audit and Recovery of backlogs of stamp duties.
“The committee, chaired by the Office Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Abubakar Malami, SAN was inaugurated by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha on June 30, 2020.
“Membership of the committee was drawn from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Central Bank of Nigeria and Federal Inland Revenue Serves.
“The Stamp Duties was originally captured in the Stamp Duties Act 1939 (Ordinance 41 of the 1939) and amended by numerous Acts and various resolutions and contained in the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“Recently, the Finance Act 2019 amendment to the Stamp Duties Act, particularly Section 52-56 clearly defined the responsibilities for the administration of Stamp Duties in Nigeria and jurisdiction of participating taxing authorizes, as well as explained that the Federal Inland Revenue is the competent tax authority to administer, assess, collect, and account for stamp duty in the country.”