The Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed readiness to provide the much needed support any States of the country, as may be required, in a bid to recover the backlog of Stamp Duty and generate more revenue to the country.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN who made this known also called for the support and cooperation of the Attorneys-General of the thirty-six states in country and the Joint Tax Board on the proposed audit and recovery of backlog of stamp duties from 15th January, 2016 to 39th June, 2020.
This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice made available to newsmen on Tuesday the 11th day of August, 2020.
According to the statement Malami made the call at the virtual meeting with the States Attorneys-General and the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue and the Members of the Joint Task Board on Tuesday the 11th day of August, 2020.
The Minister cited Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Act which states 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”(sic).
Malami noted that it is pertinent to note that by Paragraph 7, Item B of Part II of the Second Schedule to the Constitution and Section 4(2) of Stamp Duty Act, the State Governments are empowered to collect stamp duties in respect of transactions between individuals residing in their respective States.
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 Tuesday 30th June, 2020.
Membership of the Committee were 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, the statement from the AGF’s office said.