By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Federal Government has expressed readiness to provide the much needed support to any of the 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.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, SAN, who gave the assurance in statement yesterday in Abuja.
The Minister of Justice also called for the support and cooperation of the Attorney-Generals 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.
The AGF, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, said these during a virtual meeting with the States Attorney-Generals and the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue and the Members of the Joint Task Board.
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”.
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 would be recalled that Federal Government had set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Audit and Recovery of backlogs of stamp duties recently.
The Committee, chaired by the Minister of Justice;, was inaugurated by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha on Tuesday 30th June, 2020.
Members 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.