By Andy Chukwu
The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sanction 16 commercial banks for under-remitting stamp duty revenue to the tune of N1.6 billion.
It also asked the CBN to ensure the banks pay the outstanding revenue with interests.
The House reached the decision after adopting the report of the ad-hoc committee which investigated the non-remittance of the stamp duties on Thursday.
Leaks.ng, a collation of media houses, had reported that the agencies refused to disclose details of the stamp duty revenue whose status has been shrouded in secrecy over the years.
Following the report, the House set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the matter and report its findings.
CBN officials had told the committee the total stamp duty revenue since January 2016 stands at N35.2 billion.
The committee’s report, as presented by its chairman, Abubakar Ahmad, listed the indicted banks with highest under-remitted stamp duty revenues as Diamond Bank, with N545.87 million; Zenith Bank, with N265.63 million, and Stanbic IBTC, with N231 million.
The other banks indicted include Guaranteed Trust Bank (N196.3 million); Standard Chartered Bank (N3.65 million); Citi Bank (N1.86 million); and Providus Bank (N646,650).
Others are Fidelity Bank (N32.88 million), Keystone Bank (N24.47 million), United Bank of Africa (N81 million), and ECOBANK (N78.52 million)
Also indicted are Unity Bank (N40 million), Jaiz Bank (N2.43 million), Access Bank (N66 million), Skye Bank (N11 million), and Polaris Bank (N2.9 million).
The House, however, called for further investigation into four banks which it said failed to honour their invitations. The banks include First Bank of Nigeria, First City Monument Bank, Wema Bank and Suntrust Bank.
The lawmakers also asked CBN to strengthen its supervisory role over the stamp duty revenue to ensure they are collected promptly.
It also called for a machinery to allow for the recovery of under -remittances “after further reconciliation is carried out with the banks concerned.”
Other recommendations include:
– That all banks that were found not to have made full disclosure on stamp duties collections and remittances should be further investigated.
– That financial institutions, especially the deposit money banks (DMBs) should remit all collections with respect to government revenues promptly and correctly, and where remittances are not promptly done, the DMBs should be sanctioned.
– That the relevant agencies should give maximum cooperation to the School of Banking Honours (SBH) to enable it realise the goal of the assignment given to it.
– That other forms of stamp duty should be explored “to increase the revenue base of various tiers of government in accordance with the provisions of the Stamp Duty Act, 2004.