By Adeyemo Olajire Philip

It is no longer news that the Central Bank of Nigeria had through a circular issued on Jan 15, 2016 directed Deposit Money Banks to deduct 50 naira stamp duty on each deposit on each deposit made into current accounts with a value of 1000 naira and above in order to boost government’s revenue drive in compliance with the Stamp Duty Act of 2004.

It would be proper for Nigerians to know how much was realised from the stamp duty contributed in 2016. This stamp duty was introduced due to the drop in revenue accrued to the government from crude oil sale as result of fall in its price and pipeline vandalism.

To Nigerians, stamp duty means, paying 50 naira for an “unseen” stamp to make bank deposits. Unfortunately, the federal government has directed banks as from January 2017 to extend the 50 naira collections to the savings accounts. What an extra burden!

Why was the government taking loans and still making moves to obtain another $30bn loan? Why has the finance minister put Nigerians in the dark as touching the trillions on naira made from the stamp duty collections? How much revenue is expected to accrue this year when it has now been extended to the savings account? These questions and more are begging for answers.

This 50 naira deducted from each deposit 1000 naira and above is transferred into the account of NIPOST. Some people abandoned their current accounts and moved to the savings account last year because of the deduction, but now the deduction is now inevitable.

For over a month, there has been reduction in oil pipeline vandalism as this has increased the revenue of the government. I believe the federal government must consolidate the peaceful atmosphere obtained in the pipeline sector and make it a permanent one.

The PMB administration has been shouting diversification of the economy while Nigerians are crying of hardship already, yet another burdens has been added. Nigerians aren’t happy with this kind of pseudo-diversification.

Imagine the number of banks available in Nigerian as well as the number of transactions made on daily basis. Consider the number of deposits made on-line even when banks are shut. Unfortunately, we have not been told the targeted revenue from the stamp duty collection for 2017.

Nigerians are still doubting if transparency and accountability are still the watchwords of the PMB administration. The change and anti-corruption mantra that brought the PMB administration on board will be nothing to write home about if nothing meaningful is done now.

The Ministry of Finance and concerned agencies such as NIPOST, CBN and should as a matter of urgency release the figures of the money accrued to government coffers for 2016 as well as the target for 2017. Nigerians need to know.

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