Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, finally responded to the federal legislator who accused him of fraud yesterday, clearing the air on how much money was made through the electronic transfer method commonly referred to as stamp duty.
Mr Emefiele used yesterday’s post-MPC media briefing to reveal that all commercial banks together had only collected a total of N370.686 billion in stamp duty since 2016 when the collection first began. He said the total amount of stamp duty collected so far is N370, 686,315,505.28 billion, citing data from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The CBN governor backed up his claim by including copies of letters from all the commercial banks detailing the amount of stamp duty money collected on behalf of the federal government. All of the letters were typed on the banks’ letterhead.
Gudaji Kazaure, a member of the House of Representatives, recently claimed that N89.09 trillion supposedly realised from deductions by banks as stamp duty costs had been diverted, a claim that has caused significant debate in the system.
Mr Emefiele revealed that the Federal Account Allocation Committee had received N226,451,720,158.88 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for distribution to the three levels of government.
“Out of that, FIRS has disbursed through FAAC N226,451,720,158.88 billion. And the balance in the account in CBN is N144,234,595,346.40 billion,” he stated.
Mr Emefiele disclosed that First Bank Plc recorded the highest collection of N71.6 billion in seven years.
There is currently N144,234,595,346.40 billion in the stamp duty account, as reported by the CBN.
According to Emefiele, the CBN had to contact the banks to find out how much stamp duty they had collected since 2016. So far, CBN has received a total of N370, 686,315,505.28 billion in stamp duty revenue.
“If there is any uncollected stamp duty money, we will force the banks to pay,” Emefiele assured while stating that his team at the apex bank will make sure every money raised from stamp duty is remitted to the federation account for accountability.
“Stamp duty is about public accountability. That also means we owe Nigerians the actual situation of how much has been collected or not collected.
“I don’t understand how the central bank that started forcing the banks in 2016 to collect stamp duty because we feel it’s a source of revenue for the country, how that same central bank can begin to withhold N89 trillion. It beats our imagination that those kinds of arguments can come up.
“N89 trillion is so large. The total assets of the banking industry today is about N71.5 trillion. The total deposit of the banking system today is N44.498 trillion. So, how then is it possible that stamp duty which is N89 trillion that is twice the deposit of banks, how possible is that? I truly don’t understand. I just don’t understand,” he stated.