The Senate on Tuesday resolved to probe the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its subsidiary, the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) over an allegedly failure to remit N20 trillion revenue to the Federation Account.
CBN reportedly collected the amount as stamp duty from banks and financial institutions in the country.
The resolution follows a motion by Senator representing Ondo central, Ayo Akinyelure.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria and NIBBS have technically refused to comply with the presidential directives for the recovery of over N20 trillion revenue into the coffers of government.
“The CBN and NIBSS deliberately failed to cooperate and comply with the directives of Mr President for the realisation of over N20 trillion revenue due from stamp duties collected for 2013 to 2016 and subsequently over N5 trillion minimum revenue due to be collected annually to the federation account to be shared among states of the federation for infrastructural and economic development.
“The Senate must consider whether the target N20 trillion fund is being recycled into private banks when federal government had directed its recovery,” he said.
The lawmakers expressed concerns that despite government decision to appoint a consultant to help it recovered the money; the CBN and NIBSS have technically refused to comply with the presidential directive for the recovery of the money into the Federation Account.
Senator Isah Jibrin in his contribution said, “I want to support this motion. The issue is a major problem with financial remittance. The issue is to unravel who is benefiting from the non-compliance of this directive from President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The Senate then resolved to Mandate the Committee on Finance to investigate this issue of over N20 trillion unremitted stamp duties revenue due to the Federal Government of Nigeria from banks and other financial institutions through (NIBSS) a subsidiary of CBN for 2013 – 2016 and financial accountability of stamp duty collections from 2016 when the CBN officially directed all banks to collect on behalf of the federal government to date.
In his concluding remarks, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said, “I engaged the Ministry of Finance and CBN for an interaction, and I discovered that what we have been expecting to be available as stamp duty is not so.
“I was under the impression that we had over N20 trillion somewhere. It will interest you to know that we don’t even have N1 trillion. What has happened is because those that are supposed to collect the stamp duties were taking advantage of the non-electronic transaction.
“With the passage of the finance bill, this is an opportunity we have to start getting what ordinarily should go to the government.
“The banks and many private organizations have taken advantage of the way the stamp duties have been.
“I want to believe that from January 2020, when the Finance Bill will start being effective, the stamp duty collection will be significantly improved,” he said.
Lawan added that is for our Finance Committee to monitor closely what the collection should be.
“We would like to know in the first quarter how much they have collected, and if they have not met targets; if they have met targets, how do we do better than that? The idea is not to slow agencies to do whatever they want.”