The much-awaited response of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele to the allegation of fraud leveled against him by a federal lawmaker, came in yesterday, setting the records straight on the actual amount that was generated from electronic transfer popularly known as stamp duty.

Mr Emefiele used the occasion of the post Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) media briefing of yesterday to announce that only N370.686 billion was collected by all the commercial banks from stamp duty from 2016 when the stamp duty collection commenced to date. “The report you have in CBN is this: that stamp duty collected to date is N370, 686,315,505.28 billion,” he stated.

To prove his point, the CBN governor attached copies of letters from all the commercial banks with details of how much were collected as stamp duty revenue on behalf of the federal government. The letters were all written in their respective letterhead papers.
A member of the House of Representatives, Gudaji Kazaure, had recently alleged that N89.09 trillion purportedly realised from deductions by banks as stamp duty charges had been diverted, an allegation that had created much controversy in the system.

Mr Emefiele disclosed that from the total amount raised, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had disbursed the sum of N226,451,720,158.88 billion to the Federal Account Allocation Committee account for disbursement to the three tiers 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.”

According to CBN data, the balance in the stamp duty account is N144,234,595,346.40 billion.

Emefiele said CBN had to contact the banks to provide details of how much they have collected from stamp duty from 2016 to date. “The report you have in CBN is this: that stamp duty collected to date is N370, 686,315,505.28 billion.

“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 the purpose of accountability.

“Stamp duty is about public accountability. That also means we owe Nigerians about the true 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.