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Stamp Duties controversy: FIRS insists on right of collection as Senate reject N500 billion projection

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Controversy over right of revenue collections on Stamp duties between the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), was laid to rest Thursday with submissions by FIRS that it is backed by relevant laws for that purpose.

But the agency’s projection of N500billion billion as expected revenues from the duties collection in 2021 budget, was kicked against by members of the Senate’s joint committee on Finance and National Planning .

Right of ownership of stamp Duties collection between FIRS and NIPOST and the issue of two separate stamp Duties , came up during an interactive session between the joint committee and FIRS officials on the agency’s revenues projections for 2021 as contained in the 2021- 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework ( MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper ( FSP).

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Specifically , at the session , the Chairman of the joint Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola ( APC Lagos West) , asked the FIRS Executive Chairman, Muhamnad Nami, on right of collection of the Duties and the N500billion projected as revenue for 2021 budget as against N1. 5 trillion.

Nami in his response said there are two types of Stamp duties which are electronically related one and the adhesive ones stated in section 5(2) of the stamp duty Act .

Postage stamp he added, is different from stamp Duties payments which going by relevant laws can be made to FIRS or IRS.

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According to him , though lacunas in the stamp Duties Act, urgently needed to be addressed but right of collection for the electronic related ones has been legally given to FIRS by the National Assembly through the Finance bill passed last year and assented to, by President Buhari into an Act of Parliament.

“Besides, stamp Duties are more of tax collections which the FIRS , is constitutionally empowers by relevant provisions to carry out “, he said .

But the committee members took up the FIRS boss on the N500billion revenue projected for 2021 budget when parameters on ground, clearly indicate that the agency can based on the parameters if utilised up to 100%, rake in N3.06 trillion, if utilised up to 65% of it, rake in N2.9trillion or at worst , if 50% of the available parameters are utilised, N1.5trillion revenue can be raked in .

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Specifically, a member of the committee, Senator Gabriel Suswam ( PDP Benue East) , said the N500 billion projected as revenue from stamp Duties by FIRS in the 2021 budget is too meagre and inimical to practicability of the projected N12.66trillion trillion 2021 budget.

“The deficit in the projected budget is N5.1trillion, requiring aggressive revenue generation internally by agencies like FIRS , in making the budget implementable ” , he said .

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