By Tony Obiechina, ABUJA
Despite the global economic downturn triggered by COVID-19 which has also had significant impact on the Nigerian economy, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has recorded an exponential growth of 1,000 per cent in revenue accruing from Stamp Duty collection in the first five months of 2020.
According to a statement by FIRS Director of Communications and Liaison Department, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, the agency has consequently remitted N66 billion into the Federation Account through the Stamp Duty instrument from January, 2020 to May, 2020.
“This sterling performance is all the more impressive as the total Stamp Duty collection from January 2019 to December 2019 was only N18 billion even when the economy ran at full steam and had no global pandemic to deal with”, the statement explained.
It added further that, “the huge leap in Stamp Duty revenue is another landmark achievement by the FIRS under the leadership of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Nami, who took charge of the Service only in December 2019 following his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari”.
Recall that the Federal Government inauguratedthe Inter-Ministerial Committee on Audit and Recovery of Back Years Stamp Duties on Tuesday in Abuja during which a new FIRS Adhesive Stamp was also unveiled by Senate President Ahmed Lawan.
The statement quoted Mr. Nami, as saying, “Stamp Duty is essentially a duty chargeable on both physical or electronic instruments. The stamp is used to denote a dutiable instrument either electronically, use of an adhesive stamp or inked with a block die in acknowledgement for duty paid.”
“In Nigeria, Stamp Duties administration is governed by the Stamp Duties Act, CAP S8, LFN 2004 (as amended) whose forerunner was theOrdinance 41 of 1939. The Stamp Duties Act has therefore undergone several amendments over the years up to theFinance Act of 2019. The most recent amendment recognizes technology, economic realities, e-commerce and cross border transactions.
“Stamp duties is basically charged in two forms, either ad valorem; where duty payable is a percentage of the consideration on an instrument or a fixed sum irrespective of the consideration on dutiable instrument or document. With the Finance Act, 2019, FIRS is the sole competent tax authority to assess, collect and account for Stamp Duty in Nigeria”, the FIRS boss added.